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VOL.  I. 







VOL.  I. 

J.   B.   LIPPING  0  TT  &   CO. 


Entered  according  to  act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1865,  by 
J.  B.  LIPPINCOTT  &  CO., 

in  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  Eastern  District 
of  Pennsylvania. 

MA  ?  /O 


ON  the  3rd  of  March  1837,  Congress  appropriated  $30,000 
for  the  purchase  of  the  MSS.  of  ME.  MADISON  referred  to  in  a 
letter  from  Mrs.  Madison  to  the  President  of  the  United  States, 
dated  15  November,  1836  * 

On  the  14th  of  October  1837,  Congress  passed  an  Act  grant 
ing  to  Mrs.  Madison  the  right  to  publish  in  foreign  countries, 
for  her  own  benefit,  her  husband's  MS.  Debates  of  the  Con 
vention  of  1787.f 

On  the  9th  of  July  1838,  Congress  passed  an  Act  authoriz 
ing  the  Library  Committee  to  cause  the  Madison  Papers  to  be 
printed  and  published,  and  appropriating  $5,000  for  the 
purpose.  $ 

Those  Papers  were  accordingly  published  in  three  vols.  8vo., 
Washington  1840,  printed  by  Langtree  and  O'Sullivan.  They 
contain  MR.  MADISON'S  Eeports  of  Debates  during  the  Congress 
of  the  Confederation,  [1782,  1783,  and  1787,]  and  in  the  Federal 
Convention  of  1787 :  Also  letters  to  Greneral  Washington,  Mr. 
Jefferson,  Mr.  Eandolph,  Mr.  Pendleton,  and  Mr.  Joseph  Jones, 
and  a  few  other  letters,  written  during  the  period  covered  by 
those  Eeports.  [Yol.  I.  pp.  43  —  186,  469  —  580.  Vol.  II. 
pp.  615  — 682.] 

On  the  31st  of  May  1848,  Congress  passed  an  Act  appropri- 

*  President's  Message,  December  6,  1836.    Madison  Papers,  I.  xvi,  xvii. 
f  Statutes  at  Large,  v.  205.  J  Stat.  L.  v.  309. 


ating  $25,000  to  purchasing  from  Mrs.  Madison  all  the  unpub 
lished  MSS.  of  her  husband,  etc. ;  James  Buchanan,  John  Y. 
Mason,  and  Eichard  Smith,  to  be  trustees  to  hold,  etc.,  $20,000 
for  her  * 

On  the  18th  of  August  1856,  Congress  appropriated  $6,000 
to  printing  and  publishing  1,000  copies  of  the  Papers  of  MR. 
MADISON,  then  in  the  State  Department,  under  the  direction  of 
the  Joint  Committee  on  the  Library  of  Congress.f 

The  publication  now  made  under  the  last  mentioned  Act,  is 
in  four  vols.  8vo.  and  contains  letters  of  MR.  MADISON,  from  1769 
to  1836,  being  a  period  of  more  than  sixty  seven  years.  A  few 
only  of  these  letters  are  contained  in  the  three  volumes  publish 
ed  in  1840. 

To  the  papers  referred  to  in  the  Act  of  18  August  1856,  the 
Library  Committee  have,  in  the  present  publication,  made  some 
additions.  Among  them  are  MR.  MADISON'S  celebrated  "  Exam 
ination  of  the  British  doctrine,  &c.;  &c.,"  written  in  1806 ;  his 
pamphlet  entitled  "  Political  Observations,"  published  in  1795  ; 
some  Essays,  chiefly  political,  published  in  1791  -  '92 ;  the 
Virginia  proceedings  of  1798,  &c.,  which  became  a  frequent 
subject  of  exposition  with  him  in  his  later  years.  The  Com 
mittee  have  also  been  enabled,  through  the  courtesy  of  Mr. 
James  C.  McGuire  of  Washington  City,  to  add  from  originals 
in  his  possession,  MR.  MADISON'S  statements  in  relation  to  Sec 
retaries  Smith  and  Armstrong ;  his  apologue  of  "  Jonathan  and 
Mary  Bull ; "  his  memorandum  of  Bollman's  interview  with 
President  Jefferson,  concerning  Burr's  conspiracy ;  his  letter  on 
Napoleon's  return  from  Elba ;  his  note  for  the  Princess,  now 
Queen,  Victoria ;  and  his  "  Advice  to  my  Country." 

*  Stat.  L.  ix.  235.  t  Stat.  L.  xi.  117. 


The  Chronological  order  of  arrangement  has  been  preferred, 
as  being,  on  the  whole,  the  most  convenient.  Any  advantages 
of  other  plans  are  supposed  to  have  been  secured  by  the  inser 
tion  of  an  analytical  table  of  Contents  and  an  Index  of  letters 
for  each  volume,  with  a  copious  General  Index  to  the  whole 



1769.-— [P.  1—3.] 

To  Rev.  Thomas  Martin.    Nassau  Hall,  Aug.  16      -  1 
Friendly  salutations.  President  Blair's  account  of  the  College  of  New 
Jersey.    "  Britannia's  Intercession  for  John  Wilkes."    Prospect  of 
College  life*    Approaching  examination        -                                   -1 

To  James  Madison.    Nassau  Hall,  Sept.  30  -  2 

Commencement.    Degrees  confirmed.    Honorary  degrees  2 

Exercises,  College  honors,  choice  of  tutors,  &c.                                   -  2,  3 

1770.— [P.  4.] 

To  James  Madison.    Nassau  Hall,  July  23    -  4 
Letter  of  New  York  Merchants  burnt  by  the  students  in  College  yard. 

Increase  of  students     -                                             ...  4 

1771.— [P.  4,  5.] 

To  James  Madison.    Princeton,  Oct.  9                                ...  4 

Dr.  Witherspoon's  visit  to  Virginia                    ....  4 

1772.— [P.  5—7.] 

To  William  Bradford,  Jun.    Orange,  Va.,  Nov.  9    -           -           -  5 

Moral  and  religious  considerations        -           ....  5 

Infirm  health.    History  and  the  science  of  morals.    Fops  6 

Is  teaching  his  brothers  and  sisters.    Personal  allusions          -           -  6,  7 

1773.— [P.  7—10.] 

To  William  Bradford,  Jun.    Orange,  Va.,  April  28  7 
Punctiliousness  in  correspondence.    "Candid  remarks."    Freneau's 

works,  &c.,  &c.             -  8 

To  William  Bradford.    Orange,  Va.,  Sept.  6  9 

Mr.  Erwin's  discourse,  &c.  -  -10 

1774.— [P.  10—17.] 

To  William  Bradford,  Jr.    Jan.  24    -                                               -           -  10 

Proceedings  in  Philadelphia  with  regard  to  the  tea     -  10 
Obduracy,  &c.,  of  the  Governor  of  Massachusetts.    Evils  of  ecclesias 
tical  establishments.    History,  belles  lettres,  &c.,  &c.                      -  10,  11 

Mr.  Brackenridge.    Manners,  &c.    Virginia.    Persecution      -           -  12 

To  William  Bradford,  Jr.    Virginia,  Orange  County,  April  1  13 
Mr.  Brackenridge's  illness.    Religious  liberty.    The  Clergy    -           -  13,  14 1 

Caspapini's  letters.    Correspondence  of  friends                                  -  15 


X  CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1774, — Continued. 

To  William  Bradford.  Jr.    July  1      -  15 

Public  affairs.    Indians.    Sympathy  in  Virginia  with  the  people  of 

Boston.    Rumor  concerning  Gov.  Gage  -  -        16 

The  fast  and  the  Scotch  clergymen.    Dean  Tucker's  tracts     -  17 

1775.— [P.  17—20.] 

To  William  Bradford.    Virginia,  Orange  County,  January  20  17 

Brackenridge's  poem       -  18 

Preparations  for  defence.    The  Quakers  -  18,  19 

Logan's  speech.    Rev.  Moses  Allen       -  -           - 19,  20 

1776.— [P.  21— 28.J 

To  James  Madison.    Williamsburg,  June  27  21 

The  Convention.    Rumor  of  maritime  aid  to  Dunmore  -  21 



1777.— [P.  28—30.] 

To  James  Madison.    Orange,  March  -  28 

Case  of  Benjamin  Haley,  arrested  for  seditious  language  -        28 

1778.— [P.  30—32.] 

To  James  Madison.    Williamsburg,  January  23  30 

Dissuasion  from  resigning  Lieutenancy  of  the  County  -  -        30 

To  James  Madison.    Williamsburg,  March  6  -        31 

Effect  in  England  of  Burgoyne's  surrender.  Rumored  rescue  of  pris 
oners  by  a  New  England  privateer.  Arrival  of  a  cargo  from  Nantes. 
Treaty  expected  -  31 

1779.— [P.  32,  33.] 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    Williamsburg,  December  8  -        ?,1 

Requisitions  from  Congress.    Proposed  tax  on  tobacco,  &c.    Prices  -        32 
Suggestions  for  the  instruction  of  a  younger  brother.  College  arrange 
ments.    Bear  skins,  &c.  -  -        33 

1780.— [P.  34—41.] 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    Philadelphia,  March  20    -  -  34 

Depreciation  of  the  paper  currency.    Financial  scheme  -  34 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  October  3    -  -  34 

Reported  proceedings  of  Spain.    Arnold's  treason       -  -  35 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  October  10  -  -           -  35 

Military  movements.  Rodney.  Ternay.  Guichen.  Execution  of  Andrd. 

Smith.    Arnold  -            ,.  36 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  November  14  -  37 

Information  from  New  York.    Destruction  of  Schoharie.  Exchange 

of  prisoners.    Gen.  Washington.    Rumors     -           -  -           -  37 

CONTENTS    OP    VOL.    I.  x( 


1780,— Continued. 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  No^.  21  38 

Embarkation  at  New  York.    Supposed  purposes  of  the  enemy  -  38 

Information  from  J.  Adams.     Reported  death  of  Gen.  Woodford        -  38,  39 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia.  December  5  39 

Letters  from  Jay  and  Carmichael.    Portugal,  France,  Spain   -  39 

Tempest  in  the  West  Indies.    Its  effects  -  -  -  40 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  December    -  -  40 

Partial  accession  of  Portugal  to  the  neutral  league       -  -  40 

Removal  of  Sartine,  Minister  of  French  Marine.  Succeeded  by  De  Cas 
tries.    Laurens  committed  to  the  Tower        -  -  -  -41 

1781.— [P.  41—58.] 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia.  January  23  -  41 
Discontents  among  the  German  troops  in  New  York.    Rumored  pro 
ject  of  British  Ministry                                                  -            -  41 
France  and  Spain.    Arnold's  irruption  -  42 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  February     -                                   -  42 
Proposed  exchange  of  C.  Taylor.    Admiralty  Department       -           -  42 
Preparations  of  the  enemy                                   -            -            -  43 
To  Edmund  Randolph.    Philadelphia,  May  1                                               -  43 
Mr.  Jefferson,  and  the  defence  of  the  title  of  Virginia  -  43 
To  Philip  Mazzei.    Philadelphia,  July  7                                                         -  44 
Summary  of  military  events  since  1779.    Siege  of  Charleston.    Battle 

of  Camden        -                                                                                      -  44 
Recall  of  Gates.    Succeeded  by  Greene.    Morgan  defeats  a  detach 
ment  of  Cornwallis's  best  troops.    Cornwallis's  pursuit  and  retieat. 
Battle  with  Greene.  Recovery  of  posts  in  South  Carolina.   Greene's 
operations.    Progress  in  the  re'r.emption  of  Georgia                          -  45 
Cornwallis?s  advance  into  Virginia.    Arnold.    Fayette.     Cornwallis 
at  Chesterfield.    Tarleton's  expedition.    Its  full  object  defeated. 
Governor  Jefferson  declines  a  re-election.    Nelson  elected  Gov 
ernor.    Tarleton's  retreat.    Retreat  of  Cornwallis  to  Richmond,  and 
thence  to  Williamsburg.    Fayette's  pursuit.    Bellini                        -  46 
Conjectured  movements  in  the  Northern  Department.   Financial  vicis 
situdes.     Depreciation  of  old  Continental  bills                                   -  47 
Probable  financial  improvement.    R.  Morris.    Great  advantage  of  the 

naval  superiority  of  the  enemy  -  48 

Barbarities  of  the  enemy  in  the  Southern  States.    Moral  effect  -  49 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    Philadelphia,  August  1     -  -  50 

Russian  offer  of  mediation.    Gen.  Washington's  operations     -  50 

Rumor  of  a  proposed  evacuation  of  Virginia.    Speculators.    Prices  -50,51 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  Sept.  18  51 

Rumors,    De  Banes.    Digby.    Arnold's  blow  on  New  London.    Selfish 

projects  of  Spain.    Washington.     Rochambeau         -  -  51 

Advantages  of  Washington's  presence  in  Virginia        -  -  52 

Xli  CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1781.—  Continued. 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  October  2  -  -52 

Speech  of  C.  J.  Fox,  &c.    Intelligence  from  N.  York  -  52 
Digby.     Impending  fate  of  Cornwallis.     Information  from  Europe. 

Objects  deserving  attention  from  the  legislature  of  Virginia           -  53 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  October  9  -  54 

Property  of  Virginia  seized  by  Nathan                                                  -  54 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  October  16                                               -  54 

Defence  of  Mr.  Jay.    Situation  of  Cornwallis.    Case  of  Nathan  against 

Virginia                         -                                     .  55 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Nov.  27  56 
Arrival  of  Gen.  Washington.    Virginia  proportion  of  men.    Proceed 
ings  in  the  Virginia  Assembly  on  Territorial  cessions.    Influence  of 

British  reverses  on  the  question  of  peace       -                                   -  56 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Dec.  11      -                                                 -  57 
Harrison  elected  Governor  of  Virginia.     Letters  and  obliquity  of 

Deane.    Proceedings  of  Congress.    Requisitions  on  the  States        -  57 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Dec.  25       -                                               -  58 
Commodore  Johnson's  capture,  &c.,  of  Dutch  vessels.    Jefferson's  hon 
orable  acquittal,  abilities,  and  patriotism      -                                   -  58 

1782.— [P.  58—61.] 

To  James  Madison.    February  12     -                        .  58 

Remittances,  books,  &c.  -                                               -  59 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    Phila.,  March  30   -  59 

Conjectured  plans  of  British  Ministry     -  59 

To  James  Madison.    Phila.,  May  20  -                                   -                       -  60 

Rivington's  spurious  publications.     "William  Madison.     Jefferson's 

election  to  the  Virginia  legislature     -                                               -  60 

Continental  money.    Public  duties,  &c.  -  60,  61 

1783.— [P.  61—66.] 

To  James  Madison.    January  1  61 

Negotiations  for  peace.    Oswald                                                           -  61 

To  James  Madison.    Phila.,  February  12  61 

Rumors  concerning  peace.    Fall  in  price  of  imported  goods  -  61 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Phila.,  February  11  -                                               -  62 

Anecdote  concerning  Franklin  and  A.  Lee.    Jefferson's  detention  at 

Annapolis.    Proceedings  of  Congress.    Valuation  of  the  land         -  62 

J.  Adams.    Franklin.    E.  Randolph      -  63 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Phila.,  April  29  64 

McHenry's  merits.  &c.     -                                                                       -  64 

To  James  Madison.    Phila.,  May  27  -  64 

Books.    J.  Chew.    Progress  of  the  definitive  treaty,  &c.  -  64,  65 

To  James  Madison.    Philadelphia,  June  5    -                                   -           -  65 

Newspapers.    Pamphlet  of  Congress  concerning  Revenue       -  65 

CONTEXTS    OF    VOL.    I.  xiii 


1784.— [P.  66—119.] 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    Orange,  March  10  -  66 

Legal  studies.    Coke  Littleton   -  -        66 

Demand,  by  Executive  of  South  Carolina,  of  a  citizen  of  Virginia      -  66,  67 
The  propriety  of  surrendering  fugitive  offenders.     Chastellux's  work. 
"  A  notable  work,  &c."    [Qu.:  J.  Adams's  Essay  on  Canon  and  Feu 
dal  laws?]         -  -        68 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  March  16     -  68 
Delay  of  the  ratification  of  the  peace.    Question  of  international  law        69 
Questions  as  to  the  competency  of  seven  States  to  a  Treaty  of  peace, 

to  revoke  a  commission,  &c.     Historical  argument    -  -       69,  70,  71 

Parliamentary  meaning  of  "  appropriation."    Unaccountable  error  of 

opinion.     Territorial  cession  -  72 

Effort  of  Pennsylvania  for  "Western  Commerce.  Virginia.  Declen 
sion  of  Georgetown  as  a  residence  for  Congress.  Virginia  politics. 
Executive  Council.  Henry.  G.  Mason  -  73 

Boundary  between  Virginia  and  Maryland        -  -        74 

Studies  and  books.    Buffon.    Confederacies.    Bynkershoeck.    Wolfius. 

Hawkins's  Abridgement  of  Co.  Litt.     Deane's  letters  -        75 

Spectacles.  Surrender  of  a  citizen  of  Virginia  demanded  by  the  Ex 
ecutive  of  South  Carolina.  Case  stated,  and  questions  arising 
on  it  -  76 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.     Orange,  April  25  -  -        77 

Mazzei.  His  views  towards  a  consulate,  enmity  to  Franklin,  and  fa 
vorable  opinion  of  J.  Adams.  Henry's  present  politics.  Meteoro- 
.  logical  Diary  -  -  78 

Case  of  the  Potowmac.  Policy  of  Baltimore,  &c.  Proposition  of  Vir 
ginia  to  arm  Congress  with  certain  powers.  Recent  change  in  the 
British  Ministry.  Interrogatories.  Discovery  of  a  subterraneous 
city  in  Siberia.  Equestrian  statue  -  -  79 

Catharine  2d  and  Buffon  -        80 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.     Richmond.  May  15    -  80 

Projected  revisal  of  the  Constitution  of  Virginia.    R.  H.  Lee.    Henry        80 
To  Col.  James  Madison.     Richmond,  June  5  -        81 

Proceedings  of  the  General  Assembly  of  Virginia  -        82 




DELEGATES  OF  VIRGINIA  -  -        83,  84,  85 

To  George  Washington.    Richmond,  July  2  85 

Efforts  in  the  Legislature  of  Virginia  for  the  benefit  of  Thomas  Paine. 

Prejudices  against  him.    Arthur  Lee  -  -  -  85,  86 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Richmond,  July  3     -  86 

Private  business  for  his  <fc  countrymen."    Act  assigning  to  Congress 

1  per  cent,  of  the  land  tax,  £  per  cent,  impost  on  trade        -  86 

Acts  laying  certain  duties  for  the  foreign  creditors  of  the  State.    Nor- 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1784.—  Continued. 

folk,  Alexandria,  York,  Tappahannock,  and  Bermuda  hundred,  es- 
A  tablished  as  ports.  British  Debts.  Protest  in  the  Senate.  Effort 
/  !  for  a  State  Convention.  Henry's  opposition 

.(  Petitions  for  a  general  assessment.    Project  of  the  Episcopal  clergy. 
\       Henry  preserves  it  from  a  dishonorable  death.     Discourse.     Sale 
f      of  public  lands  at  Richmond.    Seat  of  State  Government  fixed. 
Lands  about  Williamsburg  given  to  the  University.     Their  value. 
Lottery  for  encouragement  of  Maury's  school  -        88 

Revisal  to  be  printed.  Frivolous  economy.  Failure  of  effort  for  re 
muneration  of  Paine.  Appointed,  together  with  three  others.  Com 
missioners  to  negotiate  with  Maryland  in  establishing  regulations 
for  the  Potomac.  W.  Maury's  school.  Jefferson's  nephews  -  89 

Slave  tax.    Confusion  in  the  Revenue  Department.    Unskilful  draft 
ing  of  resolutions.    Scheme  for  opening  the  navigation  of  the  Poto 
mac  under  the  auspices  of  Gen.  Washington  -  89,  90 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  August  20  -  90 
Pamphlet  on  W.  I.  trade.    Deane's  letters.    Public  opinion  in  Vir 
ginia  said  to  disapprove  the  proceedings  of  the  Legislature  con 
cerning  British  debts.    Amending  State  Constitution                        -        90 
Act  restraining  foreign  trade  to  enumerated  ports.    Objections          -  90,  91 
Striking  facts  in  favor  of  a  general  mart.    Discrimination  in  favor  of 
citizens.   Effect  of  Independence  on  prices.    Tobacco,  hemp,  wheat, 
corn.    Chinch-bug       -                                                                       -  91,  92 
Views  of  the  probable  policy  of  Spain  as  to  the  navigation  of  the  Mis 
sissippi.    General  interest  of  Europe  as  bearing  on  the  American 
doctrine                                                                                                -  93,  94 
Influence  of  the  free  use  of  the  Mississippi  on  the  settlement  of  the 

Western  country  -        96 

Necessity  of  a  right  to  the  use  of  the  Spanish  shores,  and  of  holding 

an  entrepot,  or  using  N.  Orleans  as  a  free  port         -  97 

Floating  magazines.  "The  Englishman's  turn."  Batonrouge.  Point 
Coupfc.  Suggestion  of  purchasing  from  Spain  a  portion  of  ground, 
&c.  A  joint  tribunal  for  adjusting  disputes  between  the  Spaniards 
and  Americans  suggested.  Treaty  of  Munster  -  -  97,  98 

British  use  of  the  Spanish  shore.    Construction  of  a  stipulation  in 

Treaty  of  17G3.    Jefferson's  nephews  -  98.  99 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  September  7  -  99 

Fayette.    Navigation  of  the  Mississippi.    Interests  of  France.    Sup 
posed  purpose  of  Spain.  Probable  interregnum  of  the  Federal  Gov 
ernment  for  some  time.  Messages  of  friendship,  &c.,  &c.     -          100,  101 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  September  15    -  -      101 

Change  of  traveling  route.    Fayette.    Accounts  of  Indian  ravages, 

&c.        -  101,  102 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  October  11  102 

Marbois.    Arrival  at  Fort  Schuyler.    Fayette  and  the  Indians  -       102 

CONTENTS    OP    VOL.    I.  xv 


1784.— Continued 

Obstacles  to  treaty.    British  retention  of  the  posts      ...      103 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  October  17     -  -      104 

Cypher.     Post  office  espionage  in  Europe.     Fayette,  Arthur   Lee, 

and  the  Indians  -  104,  105,  106 

Traits  of  Fayette's  character.    Case  of  Longchamps.    Mrs.  Trist      106,  107 
To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  November  -  -  107 

Cypher.    Arrivals  of  General  Washington  and  Fayette  -      107 

Balloting  for  public  offices.  Elections  and  rejections  -  107,  108 

To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  November  14  ...      108 

Monroe's  critical  escape.     Indians.     Spaniards.     Proposed  suspen 
sion  of  land  surveys,  negotiations,  river  surveys,  &c.,  &c.    Scheme 
for  general  assessment.    Presbyterian  clergy.    Successor  to  Har 
rison.    Henry.    Variances  in  the  Council      -  108,  109 
To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  Nov.  27                               ...      109 
Negotiations  of  New  York  with  the  Indians.  Federal  articles  bearing 
on  the  question.    Proviso.    Rule  of  construction.    Ignominious  se 
cession  at  Annapolis.    Case  of  Ho  well                      -  -      110 
Affair  of  M.  de  Marbois.    Proposition  to  authorise  Congress  to  refuse 
the  surrender  of  offenders,  in  certain  cases,  and  under  certain  cir 
cumstances,  to  foreign  powers.    Bill  for  a  religious  assessment. 
Henry.    Circuit  Courts,  &c.    -                       ....      m 
To  Col.  James  Madison.    Richmond,  Nov.  27  112 
Proceedings  of  the  Legislature  -                                   ...      112 
To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  Dec.  4                     ....      112 
British  debts.    Religious  assessment.    Henry.    Bust  of  Fayette         -      113 
To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  Dec.  17                                -                              114 
Revisal  of  the  laws.    Religious  freedom.    Mercer.    Corbin  -           -      114 
To  James  Monroe.    Richmond.  Dec.  24                                            -           -      114 
Proposition  to  empower  Congress  to  carry  into  effect  the  imposts      -      114 
Act  empowering  Congress  to  surrender  citizens  of  the  State  to  the 
sovereign  demanding  them,  for  certain  crimes  committed  within  his 
jurisdiction.    Concurrent  provision  for  State  punishment.    The  In 
dians.    Assize  courts.    General  assessment  -                                   -      115 

SUPPORT  OP  RELIGIOUS  TEACHERS    -  -  -  -         *  -»-      H6 

To  RichaidJSCnryTiee!    Richmond,  Dec.  25  •  •  •      117 

/i  Lee rs  election  as  President  of  Congress.    Assize  bill  -  117 

1  General  assessment  bill.    Episcopal  church.    British  debts.    Bills  for 
>      opening  the  Potowmac  and  James  rivers,  and  for  water  surveys. 

Proposition  to  empower  Congress  to  collect  impost  within  Virginia      118 
Project  of  a  Continental  Convention.    Union  of  the  States  essential, 

&c.  Inefficacy,  &c.,  of  the  present  system:   1785.— [P.119 — 211.]  118,119 
To  General  Washington.    Richmond,  January  1  -      119 

Acts  for  river  surveys.    Resolution  for  settling  the  jurisdiction  of  the 
Potomac,  &c.    -  -  -  -  -  -  -          119,  120 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1 785 . — Continued. 
To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  January  8    -  -      120 

Political  arrangements.    R.  H.  Lee.    R.  R.  Livingston  -      120 

Variance  with  Great  Britain.  Her  probable  policy.  Spain.  Natural 
right  of  the  Western  country  to  the  use  of  the  Mississippi.  Difficulty 
as  to  cypher  -  -  121 

Bills  concerning  Potomac  and  James  Rivers,  and  presenting  shares 

to  Gen.  Washington     -  -      122 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Richmond,  January  9  -      122 

Proceedings  of  the  General  Assembly  of  Virginia.  Act  for  the  estab 
lishment  of  the  Courts  of  Assize.  Henry  previously  elected  Gov 
ernor.  Particulars  concerning  the  Assize  Act.  Acts  for  opening, 
&c.,  Potowmac  and  James  rivers  -  -  123 

The  subject  brought  forward  under  Gen.  Washington's  auspices. 
Memorials,  &c.  123,  124 

Agency  of  Gen.  Washington  at  Annapolis,  concerning  the  Potomac. 
The  James  river  bill.  Road  to  Cheat  river,  &c.  -  -  125 

Projected  survey  for  a  canal  between  Elizabeth  river  and  North  Caro 
lina.  Considerations  leading  to  the  Act  vesting  in  G.  Washington 
a  certain  interest  in  the  companies  for  opening  James  and  Potomac 
rivers.  His  earnestness  in  the  public  object,  showing  that  his  mind 
"  capable  of  great  views,  and  which  has  long  been  occupied  with 
them,  cannot  bear  a  vacancy "  -  127 

Act  remitting  half  the  tax  for  1785        -  127,  128 

Act  giving  James  Rumsey  the  exclusive  privilege  of  constructing 
and  navigating  certain  boats  for  a  limited  time.  General  ridicule 
of  Rumsey's  invention.  Washington's  opinion  of  its  reality  and  im 
portance.  Acts  authorizing  the  surrender  of  a  citizen  in  certain 
cases,  &c.,  to  a  foreign  Sovereign.  Authorities  -  128,  129 

Act  incorporating  the  Protestant  Episcopal  church.    Objections,  &c.      130 

British  Debts.  Jones.  Henry.  Memorials,  &c.,  &c.  Thr^teglslation 
on  this  subject  left  incomplete,  from  a  singular  cause.  Bill  concern 
ing  depreciated  payments  into  the  Treasury.  Abortive  proposition 
concerning  the  collection  of  the  impost  by  Congress.  Complaint  of 
the  French  Vice  Consul  133 

Henry  elected  successor  to  Governor  Harrison.  Amendment  of  the 
State  Constitution.  Petitions  from  Western  Virginia  for  a  separate 
Government.  Arthur  Campbell.  Revisal.  Compensation  to  the 
acting  members  of  the  Committee  -  -  134 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    Orange,  March  10  -  -      135 

European  affairs.    Kentucky  Convention  -      135 

To  Marquis  Fayette.     Orange,  March  20  -  -      136 

Navigation  of  the  Mississippi.  Future  population  and  prospects. 
Spain,  Great  Britain,  nature,  philosophy,  and  commerce  -  136.  137 

Narrow  policy  of  Spain.  Favorable  sentiments  of  other  European 
powers.  France.  Philanthropy  of  Louis  16  138,139 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 

1785.—  Continued. 

Domestic  affairs.    Act  of  Virginia  vesting  in  G.  Washington  shares, 
&c.,  &c.    Juridical  system.    jBilLfox  '  'jjoj^oifttiaff-ettf-  Religious  sys 
tem."  Anomalous  condition  of  the  act  for  paying  British  debts       -      140 
To  James  Monroe.    Orange,  March  21  -      141 

Jay.     Question  of  etiquette.    Foreign  Department       -  -      141 

Movement  in  Kentucky  towards  an  independent  Government  -      142 

To  James  Monroe.    Orange,  April  12  -      143 

Appointment  of  J.  Adams  as  Minister  to  London.  Jefferson.  Consu 
lar  arrangements.  Maury.  Western  posts.  Massachusetts  and 
Rhode  Island,  &c.  -  -  143 

The  8th  article  of  the  Confederation.  GejoejaLAssessment  Act  of  Vir-  ' 

ginia.    Sectarian  opinions.    A  new  cypher  -  -      144 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  April  27  -      145 

Natural  philosophy.  Pamphlets.  Claim  of  Le  Maire.  Literary  wants. 

Felice.    De  Thou.    Moreri      -  -      145 

Treaties  on  Federal  Republics.  Law  of  nations.  History  of  the  New 
World.  Greek  and  Roman  authors.  Historians  of  the  Roman  Em 
pire.  PaschaL  Ulloa,  Linnaeus,  Ordonnances  Marines.  French  tracts 
on  economies  of  different  nations.  Amelot's  travels.  Continua 
tion  of  Buffon.  New  invented  lamp.  Pocket  compass  -  -  146 

Tax  on  transfers  of  land.    Tax  on  law  proceedings.    Kentucky  Con 

vention.    Scheme  for  independence  -  -      147 

Uncertainty  whether  or  not  Washington  will  accept  the  shares  voted 
to  him.  Ramsey's  Invention.  Report  of  Maryland  and  Virginia 
Commissioners  concerning  the  jurisdiction  of  Potowmac.  Bills  in 
the  General  Assembly  of  Virginia.  Elections.  Carter,  Harrison, 
Tyler,  Arthur  Lee.  Fayette.  Navigation  of  the  Mississippi.  Folly 
of  Spain  148,  149 

Jefferson's  nephews.    Maury's  school.    Weather  -       150 

Invitation  to  visit  Jefferson  in  France.  Subterraneous  city  discovered 

in  Sibena.    Deaths     -  151,  152 

To  James  Monroe.    Orange,  April  28  -      152 

Cypher.     Elections.    Pendleton,  Nicholas,  Fry,  Harrison,  &c.  -      152 

Disorders  of  Coin.    Weights  and  measures.    Mint.    Proposed  stand 

ard  of  measures  and  of  weights.    Importance  of  uniformity  -      153 

To  James  Monroe.    Orange,  May  29  -      153 

Territorial  fund.  Western  posts.    Navigation  of  the  Mississippi.    Cer 

tificates  for  discharging  interest  of  home  debt  -      153 

Proposed  separation  of  Kentucky.  Rumor  that  a  State  has  been  set 
up  in  the  back  country  of  North  Carolina.  Clause  for  Township 
support  of  Religion.  Opinions  -  -  154 

T9  James  Monroe.     Orange,  June  21  -      155 

~Eill_for  establishing  the  Christian  religion  in  ViEgtBia.  Commission 
ers  from  TJeorgfaTTo  the^anisTi^oveTnTJr^f  New  Orleans.  Out 
rage  on  the  Federal  Constitution  -  -  ...  155 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1785.—  Continued. 
Commercial  discontents  in  Boston,  &c.    British  monopoly  df 'trade  < 

with  Virginia.    Prices  -      156 

To  R.  H.  Lee.    Orange,  July  7  157 

Interest  of  Virginia  to  part  with  Kentucky.  Congress  ought  to  be 
made  a  party  to  a  voluntary  dismemberment  of  a  State.  Reasons 
for  this  opinion  -  157 

Arrival  of  Gardoqui.  The  Mississippi.  Western  posts.  British  mo 
nopoly.  Deane's  intercepted  letters.  Deplorable  condition  of 
trade.  Prices.  Weather.  Crops  -  158,  159 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    Orange,  July  26     -  -      159 

Ecclesiastical  journal.    Objections  to  a  legal  salary  annexed  to  the 
t\     title  of  a  parish  priest.     Gen.  Washington  and  the  negotiation  with 

j     Pennsylvania.    Mason.    Fayette.  Neckar.    The  Mississippi.    Spain      1GO 
\       /  Incorporating  act.    Course  of  reading.    The  bar.    Slave  labor.  Pro 
jects  of  speculation  and  travel  -      161 


To  James  Monroe.    Orange,  August  7  -      169 

Proposed  change  of  the  9th  article  of  the  Confederation  -      109 

The  power  of  regulating  trade  ought  to  be  a  Federal  power.  Perfect 
freedom  of  trade,  to  be  attainable,  must  be  universal.    Exclusive 
policy  of  Great  Britain.    Retaliating  regulations  necessary.    These 
to  be  effectuated  only  by  harmony  in  the  measures  of  the  States    169,  170 
Importance  of  amending  defects  in  the  Federal  system  -      171 

Answer  to  objections  against  entrusting  Congress  with  a  power  over 

trade.    Difficulties       -  -      172 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.     Orange,  August  20  -  -      173 

Machinations  of  Great  Britain  with  regard  to  commerce.  Desired 
augmentation  of  the  power  of  Congress.  Feeling  in  Virginia  against 
Great  Britain,  and  apathy  as  to  commerce  -  -  173 

Paris.    Surmise  as  to  British  policy.    Internal  trade.    Evil  of  long 

credits  to  the  consumer  -      174 

Conjectural  explanation  of  the  dissolution  of  the  Committee  of  States 
at  Annapolis.  Fayette 's  foibles  and  favorable  traits  of  character. 
General  Assessment.  Remonstrance  against  it.  Mutual  hatred  of 
the  Presbyterians  and  the  Episcopalians.  Circuit  Courts.  Potow- 
mac  company.  James  river  -  -  175 

Revised  Code.  Crops.  Prices.  Ex-Governor  Harrison.  Withdrawing 

from  nomination.    Travel.    A  project  -      176 

To  John  Brown,  (Kentucky.)     Orange,  August  23  -  -      177 

Parental  ties.  Ideas  towards  a  Constitution  for  Kentucky.  The  Legis 
lative  Department  ought  to  include  a  Senate.  The  Senate  of  Mary 
land  a  good  model.  That  of  Virginia  a  bad  one.  The  other  branch. 
The  extent  of  Legislative  power  in  many  respects  necessarily  indefi 
nite.  Subjects  proper  for  Constitutional  inhibition.  Advantage  of 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  XIX 


1785.—  Continued. 

the  New  York  Council  of  revision      -  178 

Project  and  functions  of  a  Select  Standing  Committee.    Executive 

Department  in  State  Governments.  Objections  to  it  in  Virginia  178,  179 
Judiciary  Department.  Importance  of  an  independent  tenure  and 
liberal  salaries.  A  separate  Court  of  Chancery  advisable.  Repro 
bation  of  Virginia  County  Courts.  Tribunal  of  impeachment ;  how 
it  should  be  constituted.  Right  of  suffrage.  Mode  of  suffrage. 
Ballot.  Plan  of  representation.  Rights  of  property  180,  181 

Annual,  triennial,  septennial  elections  considered  in  reference  to  the 

different  departments  of  power  -  -      182 

Union  of  different  offices  in  one  person  -  -  183 

Periodical  review  of  a  Constitution,  &c.  183,  184 

The  Mississippi.    Constitutions  of  the  several  States,  printed  by  order 

of  Congress       -  184,  185 


SENT   FHO.M   NEW  YORK  TO  MR.  JOHN  BROWN,  KENTUCKY,  OCTOBER,  1788         185 

The  Senate.    A  term  of  six  years  not  more  than  sufficient       -  -      185 

Objections  to  appointment  of  Senators  by  Districts      -  186 

A  property  qualification  for  voters  considered  187,  188 

Ballot  compared  with  viva  voce  voting.  Exclusions.  Ministers  of  the  \ 
Gospel.  Re-eligibility  of  members  after  accepting  offices  of  profit.  ^ 
Limits  of  power.  Capital  punishment.  Prohibition  of  pardon  -  189 

Election  of  Governor.  Council  of  State.  Appointments  to  office. 
Detail  to  be  avoided  in  the  Constitutional  regulation  of  the  Judi- 

.  ciary  Department.  Court  of  Appeals.  Court  of  Impeachment. 
Objections  to  the  plan  proposed.  Desiderata  in  such  a  Court  190,  191 

Trial  by  Jury.  Council  of  Revision.  Extension  of  the  writ  of  Habeas 
Corpus.  Emergencies.  Proposed  exemption  of  the  Press  in  every 
case  of  true  fads  -  -  195 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  Oct.  3  -      195 

Journey.  Disordered  affairs  of  the  Confederacy.  Efforts  of  Congress. 
Desiderata.  Unauthorised  expenses  of  the  States.  Apportionment 
of  common  debt.  Desired  powers  to  Congress  to  enforce  payment 
of  State  quotas,  and  over  trade.  R.  H.  Lee.  Grayson.  Monroe. 
Hardy.  Proceedings  in  certain  States  196,  197 

African  slave  trade.    S.  Carolina.    Dr.  Franklin's  arrival.    Washing 
ton  declines  the  shares  voted  to  him,  &c.       -  -       198 
To  General  Washington.    Richmond,  Nov.  11  -      199 

The  shares.  Contest  for  the  chair.  Prospect  of  the  adoption  of  the 
Revised  Code.  Petition  for  a  general  manumission.  Distresses  of 
trade.  Power  over  it  proposed  to  be  given  to  Congress.  Braxton's 
counter  propositions.  Reports  on  navigation.  Pamphlet  attributed 
to  St.  George  Tucker  -  200,  201 



XX  CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1785.—  Continued. 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Richmond,  Nov.  15  -  -      202 

Jefferson's  notes.    The  Revisal  -  -      203 

To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  Dec.  9  -      203 

Trade.    Suggested  convention  of  Commissioners  at  Annapolis          -      203 
Assize  bill.    The  Revisal.    Criminal  bill.    Mercer.    Coldness  of  mem 
bers  from  Kentucky  as  to  immediate  separation       -  -      204 
To  Gen.  Washington.    Richmond,  Dec.  9      -                                               -      205 
The  Commercial  propositions.    Sacrifices  of  sovereignty  on  which  the 

Federal  Government  rests.    Difficulties  -      205 

Proposed  Convention  at  Annapolis.  Alexandria.  Exceptional  liber 
ality  and  light  of  its  mercantile  interest,  with  regard  to  a  navigation 
act.  The  Revisal.  Public  credit.  Assize  and  Port  bills  -  206,  207 

Projected  canal  between  Virginia  and  North  Carolina.    Memorial  of 

Kentucky  for  Independence.    Terms  of  separation  -  207,  208 

To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  Dec.  24        -  -      208 

r'^Proceedings  of  the  Legislature.  Bills  concerning  Religious  Freedom, 
British  debts,  Proprietary  interest  in  tfi6~NbrIh^rn  Neck~7aS3TEe 
County  Courts  -  208,  209 

To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  Dec.  30        -  -      210 

Discussions  concerning  British  debts,  and  changes  in  the  bill.    Dis 
paragements  of  the  Treaty.    J.  Adams  210 
Impracticability  of  rendering  the  county  courts  fit  instruments  of  jus 
tice.    Business  depending.    Compact  with  Maryland                              211 

1786.— [P.  211—269.] 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Richmond,  January  22  -  211 

Jefferson's  Notes.    Arrival  of  books      -  -  -      211 

Harrison  elected  Speaker.  Question  of  residence.  Arthur  Lee. 
Question  of  holding  office,  &c.  Progress  of  Revisal.  Crimes  and 
punishments.  Religious  Freedom  -  212,  213 

List  of  Acts  not  incIudecTiif  the  revisal  -  -         214 — 220 

Fayette.     Shares  voted  to  Gen.  Washington.    Conditional  pardons. 
Alien  law.    Quit-rents.    County  Courts.    Papers.    Courts  of  As 
size        -  214,  215 
Appointment  of  Commissioners  to  Annapolis    -  -      216 
Opposition  of  Thruston,  the  Speaker,  and  Corbin.    Port  bill.    British 

debts.     Gradual  abolition  of  slavery.     Private  manumissions        216,  217 
Itch  for  paper  money.    Postponed  tax.    Kentucky  an  independent 

State     -  -      218 

Militia  Law.    Escheat  law.    Lord  Fairfax's  lands.    Attempts  to  dis 
member  the  State.    Arthur  Campbell's  faction         -  -      219 
Appropriating  Act.    Salaries.    Tonnage  on  British  vessels.    Canal  in 

N.Carolina.    Family  affairs.    Peter  Carr's  studies.    Le  Maire        -      220 

Large  fish  bones  found  in  sinking  wells.    Promotions.    Prices  -      221 

To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  January  22  -  221 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  Xxi 


1786.— Continued. 

Adjournment  of  the  Legislature.  A  previous  statement  corrected. 
Navigation  system  for  the  State.  Tyler,  £c.  Commissioners  to  An 
napolis.  Particulars  concerning  their  appointment.  Defects  of  cer 
tain  bills  for  complying  with  the  demand  of  Congress.  Economical 
revision  of  the  Civil  list  222,  223 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.     Orange,  March  18     -  224 

The  Capitol.    Books  received.    Le  Maire.    Copying  press     -  -      225 

Meeting  of  deputies  from  Virginia  to  the  Commercial  Convention. 
Tendency  of  separate  regulations  by  the  States.  Deficiencies  of  pay 
ments  by  the  States  under  calls  from  Congress  -  225,  226 

Balance  of  trade.    Importance  of  the  proposed  Convention.    Difficul 
ties  and  dangers.    Prices        -  -  226,  227,  228 
To  James  Monroe.     Orange,  March  19  -      228 

A  Convention  preferable  to  gradual  reforms  of  the  Confederation. 

Temper  of  the  Assembly,  &c.  -  -      229 

To  James  Monroe.     Orange,  April  9  -  -      229 

Action  in  New  Jersey.    Gloomy  prospect  of  preserving  the  Union  of 
the  States.    The  impost.    Materially  short  of  the  power  which  Con 
gress  ought  to  have  as  to  trade  229,  230 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.     Orange,  May  12  -      230 

Jefferson's  Notes.   Books.    Pedometer.  &c.    Inscription  for  the  statue 

[of  Washington.]     Houdon's  criticism  -      231 

Fayette  and  Rochambeau.    Changes  in  the  late  elections.    G.  Mason, 

George  and  John  Nicholas,  Monroe,  Mercer,  Bland,  &c.       -  -      232 

Refusal  of  Maryland  to  appoint  deputies  for  the  proposed  Convention. 
Internal  situation  of  Virginia.  Prices.  Kentucky.  Skirmish  with 
the  savages.  Scheme  of  Independence  said  to  be  growing  unpopu 
lar.  Dabney  Carr  .  -  233 

Peccan  nuts.  Sugar  tree.  Opossums.  Buffon.  Fallow  and  Roedeer 
not  native  quadrupeds  of  America.  The  Chevruel.  The  Monax. 
The  Marmotte  of  Europe  234,  235 

Moles.    Buffon's  theory.    His  cuts  of  Quadrupeds       -  236,  237 

To  James  Monroe.     Orange,  May  13  237 

Two  Conventions,  concurrent  as  to  time,  and,  in  part,  as  to  powers. 
Consequent  embarrassment,  and  proposed  expedient.  Change  in 
the  late  elections.  Mercer's  pamphlet  -  237 

Mason,  &c.    Forcing  trade  to  Norfolk  and  Alexandria.    Kentucky. 

Disquiet  from  the  savages.    Proposed  separation     -  238 

To  James  Monroe.    Orange,  June  4  -  238 

Proposed  journey.    Information  from  the  back  country.     Death  of 

Col.  W.  Christian.    Kentucky.    Paper  money  -      239 

To  James  Monroe.    Orange,  June  21  239 

Amazing  thought  of  surrendering  the  Mississippi,  and  guarantying  the 
possessions  of  Spain  in  America.  Objections  to  these  projects.  Ad 
justment  of  claims  and  accounts  -  239,  240,  241 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1786. — Continued. 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Phila.,  Aug.  12  -      242 

Ride  through  Virginia,  Maryland,  and  Pennsylvania.    Crops  -      242 

Harper's  Ferry.     Works  on  the  Potowmac.     Negotiation  for  canal 

from  the  head  of  Chesapeake  to  the  Delaware  242,  243 

Rage  for  paper  money.  Pennsylvania  and  North  Carolina.  South 
Carolina.  New  Jersey,  New  York,  Rhode  Island,  Massachusetts, 
Connecticut,  and  New  Hampshire.  Senate  of  Maryland.  Virginia. 
G.  Mason  244,  245 

States  appointing  and  not  appointing  deputies  to  Annapolis.     Discour 
agements  of  the  hope  to  render  the  meeting  subservient  to  a  pleni 
potentiary  Convention  for  amending  the  Constitution  245,  246 
Spanish  politics.     Temporary  occlusion  of  the  Mississippi,  and  abso 
lute  negative  of  the  American  claim.     Embarrassment  of  personal 
situation.     The  Impost.    British  debts.    Paradise's  claim    -  -      247 
Ubbo  Emmius   -  -       248 
To  James  Monroe.     Phila.,  Aug.  15  -                                                              -       248 
Jay's  proposition  for  shutting  up  the  Mississippi  for  25  years              -      248 
To  James  Monroe.     Phila.,  Aug.  17  -                                                              -      248 
Principles  proposed  by  Monroe  and  Grayson  for  negotiations  with 

Spain.    Want  of  cypher  248,  249 

To  James  Monroe.     Annapolis,  Sept.  11       -  -      249 

Prospect  of  a  breaking  up  of  the  meeting,  &c.  -  -      250 

To  James  Monroe.    Phila.,  Oct.  5  -      250 

Alarming  progression  of  a  certain  measure.     Not  expedient,  because 
not  just.    The  maxim,  "  that  the  interest  of  the  majority  is  the  po 
litical  standard  of  right  and  wrong,"  considered       -  -      251 
To  James  Monroe.     Richmond,  October  30  -  -      251 
Navigation  of  the  Mississippi.    Paper  money.  Henry  declines  re-elec 
tion  as  Governor  of  Virginia,    Randolph  and  R.  H.  Lee.    Appoint 
ments  to  Congress        -           -                                                          251.  ?52 
To  Col.  James  Madison.     Richmond,  Nov.  1                        -  253 
Large  vote  denouncing  paper  money.     Revenue  matters.     Henry  de 
clines  re-election  as  Governor.     His  probable  successor.     Commo 
tions  in  Massachusetts.    Relative  strength  and  suspected  aims  of  the 
discontented                                                                                           253,  254 
To  Gen.  Washington.      Richmond,  Nov.  8                                                  -      254 
Vote  against  a  paper  emission.    Jay's  project.    Report  from  the  Dep 
uties  to  Annapolis.    Henry.    Randolph.    R.  H.  Lee.    James.    Mar 
shall.    Nominations  for  Congress       -                                              252,  2 "3 
To  Gen.  Washington.     Richmond,  Nov.  8    -                         -                         -      254 
Shay's   Rebellion  in   Massachusetts.     Votes   against  paper  money; 
against  applying  a  scale  of  depreciation  to  military  certificates ; 
and  for  complying  with  the  recommendation  from  Annapolis  in 
favor  of  a  general  revision  of  the  Federal  system.     Washington  to 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  XXlil 


/86  —  Continued. 

be  placed  at  the  head  of  the  delegates  from  Virginia  to  the  proposed 
Federal  Convention         ...  .     254,  255 

E.  Randolph  elected  Governor  of  Virginia.     The  vote.     Col.  H.  Lee.        255 
Combination  of  the  Indians  threatening  the  frontier  of  the  U.  States. 
Party  in  Congress  in  favor  of  surrendering  the  Mississippi.    Ques 
tion  of  independence  in  Kentucky.    Domestic  -      255 

TO  PAPER  MONEY     -  -  255 — 257 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    Richmond,  Nov.  16  -      257 

Want  of  a  Senate.    Indents.    Bill  making  Tobacco  receivable  in  pay 
ment  of  taxes.    Certificate  tax  ....      257 
To  Col.  James  Madison.    Nov.  24     -  -      257 
Tobacco  bill  passed.    Objections  to  an  equality  of  price         -  -      257 
COPAL  CHURCH       -  258 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Richmond,  December  4                                -  259 
Unanimous  vote  for  a  Plenipotentiary  Convention  in  Phila.    -           -      259 
Unanimous  Resolutions  of  the  House  of  Delegates  against  the  project 

for  bartering  the  Mississippi  to  Spain  259,  260 

Paper  money.    Public  securities.    The  consideration  of  the  Revised 
Code  resumed.    Necessity  for  a  supplemental  Revision,  &c.    Bill 
proportioning  crimes  and  punishments.    Education.    Pendleton. 
Wythe.    Blair.    Reform,  according  to  the  Assize  plan,  desperate. 
.  District  Courts.    Impolitic  measures  of  the  last  session        -  -      261 

Attempt  to  repeal  the  Port  bill.  Mason.  British  debts.  Public  ap 
pointments.  Bland.  Prentis.  Ex-Speaker  Harrison.  E.  Randolph 
elected  Governor.  His  competitors,  Bland  and  R.  H.  Lee.  Delega 
tion  to  Congress.  H.  Lee  reinstated.  Vacancy  in  the  council. 
Boiling  Starke.  Griffin.  Innes.  Marshall.  Weather.  Crops. 
Prices  -  261,  262 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Richmond,  Dec.  7  -  263 

Reasons  for  his  accepting  his  appointment  to  the  Convention  -  -      263 

Unfavorable  influence  on  Virginia  of  the  project  of  Congress  on  the 
Mississippi  question.    Henry  "hitherto  the  champion  of  the  Fed 
eral  cause"  .      264 
Improper   legislation  to  be  expected.      Tobacco.      District  Court 

Bill  264,  265 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    Richmond,  Dec.  12  _      265 

Tobacco.    Resolutions  concerning  the  Mississippi.    Port  bill.    Dis 
trict  Court  bill  -      265 
Taxes  on  fees  of  lawyers,  on  Clerks,  riding  carriages.    Convention  in 

Kentucky  -      266 

To  James  Monroe.    Richmond,  Dec.  21  .      266 

Legislature  of  Virginia.     District  Courts.     Paper  money  in  Mary 
land      -  266, 267 
To  Gen.  Washington,    Richmond,  Dec.  24    -                                   .  267 



1786.—  Continued. 

Difficu  ties  opposing  his  accepting  the  appointment  to  the  Convention  267 
Tobaccc  as  u  commutable.  Defeated  projects  of  Paper  money.  Grad 
uating  certificates.  Instalments.  A  property  tender.  Failure  of  plan 
for  reforming  the  administration  of  justice.  Rage  for  drawing  all 
income  from  trade.  Port  bill.  Revised  Code.  Bills  concerning 
Education,  Executions,  Crimes  and  punishments.  Reason  of  the 
Virginia  Senate  for  negativing  a  bill  defining  the  privileges  of  Am 
bassadors  268,  269 

1787.— [P.  269—368.] 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Richmond,  January  9  -      269 

District  bill.  General  Court.  County  Courts.  Negative  merit  on  the 
score  of  justice  -  269 

Revised  Code.  Supplemental  revision.  A  succession  of  revisions 
commended  -  -  270 

Regret  at  the  necessity  of  imposing  future  labors  on  Pendleton,  Wythe, 
and  Blair.  Rage  for  high  duties.  Prudence  of  the  Senate.  Swift's 
remark.  Manufactures.  A  prevailing  argument  considered  -  271 

The  seditious  party  at  the  Eastward  in  communication  with  the  Vice 
roy  of  Canada  -  -      272 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  February  15       -  -      272 

Recent  Legislative  proceedings.  Rejection  of  the  bill  on  crimes  and 
punishments.  Rage  against  horse-stealers.  Bill  for  diffusing  knowl 
edge.  Revisal  at  large.  Reasons  for  imperfect  action  on  the  sys 
tem.  Committee  to  amend  unpassed  bills.  Critical  question  with 
the  friends  of  revisal  -  272,  273 

Henry.  Religion.  District  Court.  Taxes  on  lawyers,  clerks,  doctors, 
town  houses,  riding  carriages,  &c.,  £c.  Calonne.  Duties  on  trade. 
Tobacco  274 

The  Mississippi.  Jay's  project.  Deputies  from  Virginia  to  the  Con 
vention  for  amending  the  Federal  Constitution.  Action  and  expect 
ations  on  that  subject  in  the  Carolinas,  Maryland,  Delaware,  Penn 
sylvania.  New  York,  Connecticut,  Massachusetts,  New  Hampshire, 
and  Rhode  Island  -  -  275 

To  Gen.  Washington.     New  York,  Feb.  21   -  276 

Meeting  of  Congress.  Objects  depending.  Treaty  of  peace.  Rec 
ommendation  of  proposed  Federal  Convention  276 

Politics  of  New  York.  From  States  North  of  it.  S.  Carolina,  Georgia, 
&c.,  &c.  Maryland.  Rebellion  in  Massachusetts  nearly  extinct. 
Proposed  punishments.  -  277 

Political  opinions.  Monarchy  unattainable.  Republic  to  be  preserved 
only  by  redressing  the  ills  experienced  from  present  establishments. 
Virginia  the  only  State  making  provision  for  the  late  requisition  277,  278 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  February  24   -  -      278 

Lincoln's  dispersion  of  the  main  body  of  Massachusetts  insurgents. 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  XXV 


1787.—  Continued. 
Escape  of  principal  incendiaries         -  -      278 

Congress  recommends  proposed  Convention.  Dispositions,  &c.,  of 
New  York  and  other  States.  Discredit,  impotence,  &c.,  of  the  pres 
ent  system  -  278,  279 

Insurrection  in  Massachusetts.  Infamous  scenes  in  Rhode  Island.  A 
partition  of  the  Union  into  three  or  more  governments,  a  lesser  than 
existing  and  apprehended  evils,  but  a  great  one.  Reorganization 
necessary  -  280 

To  Col.  James  Madison.     New  York,  Feb.  25  -      280 

Lincoln's  success  against  the  insurgents  in  Massachusetts.  Contumacy 

of  Connecticut.    General  distrust,  &c.  280,  281 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  March  18  -      281 

Application  of  the  Russian  Empress  for  the  Aboriginal  vocabularies. 
Sample  of  Cherokee  and  Choctaw  dialects.  Appointments  for  the 
Convention.  Deputies  from  Georgia,  S.  Carolina,  N.  York,  Massa 
chusetts.  N.  Hampshire.  Instance  of  political  jealousy  in  the  legis 
lature  of  N.  York.  Thinness  of  Congress.  Calm  restored  in  Massa 
chusetts.  Its  continuance  doubtful.  Terms  of  proffered  amnesty 
rejected  by  half  of  the  insurgents  -  281,  282 

Proposition  for  relinquishing  the  claim  of  N.  York  to  Vermont,  and 
admitting  Vermont  into  the  Confederacy.  Agitation  at  Pittsburg, 
caused  by  the  reported  intention  of  Congress  concerning  the  Missis 
sippi.  Apprehensions  from  that  policy.  Refusal  by  Henry  of  his 
mission  to  Phila.  283,  284 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    N.  York,  March  19    -  -  284 

Appointments  for  the  Convention.  Deputies  from  Massachusetts,  N. 
York.  S.  Carolina.  Prospect  of  appointments  from  Rhode  Island, 
Connecticut,  and  Maryland.  Deputies  from  Virginia  -  284 

Difficulties  of  the  experiment.    Proper  foundations  of  the  new  system: 
1.  Popular  ratifications.     2.  Power  of  regulating  trade,  &c.    Neg 
ative  in  all  cases  on  the  local  Legislatures.     3.  Change  in  the  prin 
ciple  of  representation,  <fcc.     4.  Distribution  of  Federal  powers     285,  286 
To  Col.  James  Madison.    New  York,  April  1  -      286 

The  approaching  Convention.  Appointments  made  and  expected. 
Connecticut  and  Maryland.  Motive  of  the  refusal  of  Rhode  Island. 
Uncertain  issue  of  the  Convention  -  286,  287 

To  Gen.  Washington.    N.  York,  April  16     -  -      287 

Washington's  views  of  necessary  Reform.  Temporising  and  radical 
measures  compared.  Individual  independence  of  the  States  irrec- 
oncileable  with  their  aggregate  sovereignty.  Consolidation  into  a 
single  Republic  inexpedient  and  unattainable.  Middle  course. 
Change  in  principle  of  representation  287,  288 

Authority  of  the  National  Government  to  be  positive  and  complete  in 
all  cases  requiring  uniformity.  A  negative  in  all  cases  on  the  Le 
gislative  acts  of  the  States,  as  heretofore  exercised  by  the  King's 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1787.— Continued. 

prerogative.  Advantages  of  this  principle.  National  supremacy 
to  be  extended  to  the  Judiciary.  Oaths  of  the  Judges.  Admiralty 
jurisdiction  -  288,  289 

Executive  Departments.  Militia.  Two  branches  of  the  Legislative 
Department.  How,  and  for  how  long,  to  be  chosen.  Functions  of 
the  smaller  body.  Council  of  Revision.  National  Executive.  Opin 
ion  as  to  its  constitution  and  powers  yet  unformed.  Right  of  co 
ercion  should  be  expressly  declared.  Necessity  of  operating  by  force 
on  the  collective  will  of  a  State  to  be  avoided*  Negative  on  the 
laws  may  answer  this  purpose.  Or  some  defined  objects  of  taxation 
might  be  submitted,  along  with  commerce,  to  the  general  authority. 
Ratifications  to  be  obtained  from  the  People,  and  not  merely  from 
the  ordinary  authority  of  the  Legislatures  -  -  290 

Address  to  States  on  the  Treaty  of  peace.    Thinness  of  Congress. 

Public  accounts  and  lands.    Arrangements  with  Spain        -          290,  291 
Differences  as  to  place  for  the  reassembling  of  Congress.    Philadel 
phia.    N.  York.    Permanent  seat  for  the  National  Government. 
Discontents  in  Massachusetts.   Electioneering.   Paper  money.  Ver 
mont     -  291,  292 
RAL  CONVENTION  OF  1787  -                                                                     293—315 
Lycian  Confederacy.    Extracts  from  Ubbo  Emmius      -                       293,  294 
Amphictyonic  Confederacy.    Seat.    Federal  authority.    Vices  of  the 

Constitution      -  -  294,  295,  296 

Achcean  Confederacy.    Federal  Authority.    Extracts  from  Ubbo  Em 
mius,    Vices  of  the  Constitution        -  -296,297,298 
Helvetic   Confederacy.     Federal  Authority.     Vices  of  the  Constitu 
tion        -                                                                            298,  299,  300,  301,  302 
Belgic  Confederacy.    Federal  Authority.    States  General.    Powers,  &c. 
Reservations  to  the  provinces.  Restrictions  on  the  provinces.  Coun 
cil  of  State.    Chamber  of  Accounts.    College  of  Admiralty.    The 
Stadtholder.    His  powers.    Vices  of  the  Constitution 

302,  303,  304,  305,  306,  307,  308,  309 

Germanic  Confederacy.    The  Diet.    The  Emperor.    Federal  Authority. 
The  Ban  of  the  Empire.    The  Circles.    Imperial  chamber.    Aulic 
Council.   Restrictions  on  the  members  of  the  Empire.   Prerogatives 
of  the  Emperor.    Vices  of  the  Constitution    -  309,  310,  311,  312,  314,  315 
To  James  Monroe.    N.  York,  April  19  -      315 

Domestic.    The  Mississippi.    Motion  to  remove  to  Philadelphia,  &c. 

Objections,  &c.  315,  316 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  April  22  -      316 

The  malcontents  in  Massachusetts.  Their  electioneering  projects. 
Governor  Bowdoin  displaced.  Hancock's  merits  tainted  by  obse 
quiousness  to  popular  follies.  Prospect  of  a  full  Convention.  No 
appointments  yet  from  Connecticut,  Maryland,  and  Rhode  Island. 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1787.— Continued. 

Doubtful  issue  of  the  crisis.    Causes  of  apprehension  -      317 

Congress.    The  Treaty  of  peace.    Deliberations  concerning  the  West 
ern  lands,  and  criminal  and  civil  administration  for  the  Western 
settlements.    Affair  with  Spain.    Danger  of  a  paper  emission  in  Vir 
ginia.     Henry  -  -      318 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    April  23         -                                                           -      319 
Insurrection  in  Massachusetts.    County  elections  in  Virginia.    Paper 
Money.    Henry.    Mason.    Monroe.    Marshall.    Ludwell  Lee.    Har 
rison     -  -      319 
NOTES  ON  THE  CONFEDERACY.    Vices  of  the  political  system  of  the  U. 

States        -  -         319—328 

I.  Failure  of  the  States  to  comply  with  the  Constitutional  requisitions. 
2.  Encroachments  by  the  States  on  the  federal  authority.    3.  Viola 
tions  of  the  law  of  nations  and  of  treaties      -  -       320 

4.  Trespasses  of  the  States  on  the  rights  of  each  other.  5.  Want  of 
concert  in  matters  where  common  interest  requires  it  -  321 

C.  Want  of  Guaranty  to  the  States  of  their  Constitutions  and  laws 
against  internal  violence.  7.  Want  of  sanction  to  the  laws,  and  of 
coercion  in  the  Government  of  the  Confederacy  -  -  322 

8.  Want  of  ratification  by  the  people  of  the  articles  of  Confederation      323 

9.  Multiplicity  of  laws  in  the  several  States.     10.  Mutability  of  the 

laws  of  the  States  -      324 

II.  Injustice  of  the  laws  of  the  States    -  -      325 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  May  15                                                 -      328 

Day  for  meeting  of  Convention.    Thin  attendance.    Arrival  of  Gen. 

Washington,  amid  the  acclamations  of  the  People,  &c.         -  -      328 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  May  27        -  -      328 

Delay  in  making  up  quorum  of  seven  States.  Gen.  Washington  unan 
imously  called  to  the  chair.  Major  Jackson,  Secretary.  Committee 
for  preparing  rules  appointed  328,  329 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    Philadelphia,  May  27        -  -      329 

Proceedings  of  the  Convention.    Conduct  of  some  State  Governments. 

Iron.    Tobacco.    Event  of  the  election  329,330 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  June  6  -      330 

Proceedings  of  the  Convention.  Names  of  members  present.  States 
which  have  not  yet  sent  deputies.  Proceedings  thus  far  secret. 
Gen.  Washington  330,  331 

John  Adams's  Defence  of  the  American  Constitutions.  Appetite  in 
Virginia  for  paper  money.  Patrick  Henry's  opinions  on  this  and 
other  subjects.  Jefferson's  nephews.  Mazzei  -  331,  332,  333 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  July  18  -      333 

Takes  notes  of  proceedings.    Evils  of  paper  money.    Crops   -  333,  334,  335 
To  Col.  James  Madison.    Philadelphia,  July  28       -  -      335 

Affairs  in  Holland.  Proceedings  of  Congress.  Ordinance  for  the 
Government  of  the  Western  country  -  -  335 

xxviii  CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 



1787.—  Continued. 

Indian  affairs.    Brandt.    Crops  -  -      336 

To  James  Madison,  Sen.    Philadelphia,  Sept.  4  -      336 

Proceedings  of  Convention  still  secret   -  -      336 

Rumors  of  a  spirit  of  insurrection  in  some  counties  of  Virginia. 

Crops    -  336,  337 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  Sep.  6  -      337 

Diligence  of  the  Convention.  Probable  plan  of  Government.  Public 
land  -  337,  338 

Discontents  in  some  counties  of  Virginia.    Wythe,  &c.,  &c.,  &c.    Maz- 

zei  339,  340 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Philadelphia,  Sept.  20       -  -      340 

Sends  copy  of  proposed  Constitution  for  the  United  States.    Difficul 
ties        -  -      340 
To  James  Madison,  Sen.    New  York,  Sept.  30  341 

Unanimous  vote  of  Congress  forwarding  to  the  States  the  act  of  the 

Convention.    Its  reception  in  Philadelphia,  New  York,  Boston,  &c.       341 
To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Oct.  14    -  -      342 

Pinckney's  pamphlet,  &c.    Opinions  concerning  the  Constitution.    Ar 
rangements  of  Congress  for  the  Western  Country.    J.  Adams.    Jef 
ferson    -  342,  343 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Oct.  24    -  -      343 

The  new  Constitution      -  -      343 

Wish  of  the  Convention  to  preserve  the  Union  of  the  States.  No  sug 
gestion  made  for  a  partition  of  the  Empire  into  two  or  more  Con 
federacies.  The  ground-work  of  the  Constitution  was  that  it  should 
operate,  without  the  intervention  of  the  States,  on  the  individuals 
composing  the  States.  Great  objects  of  the  Constitution  -  -  344 

The  Executive  branch.     Tenure  of  office.    Powers      -  345,346 

The  Senate  "  the  great  anchor  of  the  Government."  Different  propo 
sitions  for  its  appointment  and  duration  -  -  346 

Partition  of  power  between  the  General  and  local  Governments.  A 
negative  on  the  laws  of  the  States  rejected  by  a  bare  majority.  Rea 
sons  for  such  a  check.  Historical  examples  -  346,  347,  348,  349 

A  Republican  form  of  Government,  in  order  to  effect  its  purposes, 
must  operate  within  an  extensive  sphere  -  -  350 

Reasons  for  this  opinion  -  351,  352,  353 

Adjustment  of  different  interests  of  different  parts  of  the  continent. 
South  Carolina  and  Georgia.  Equality  in  the  Senate.  Virginia  dele 
gates  to  the  Convention.  Delegates  refusing  to  be  parties  to  the 
act.  Gerry,  Randolph,  Mason  -  354 

Conjectures  as  to  the  final  reception  of  the  proposed  system  by  the 
people  at  large  -  355 

Opinions  in  particular  States      -  355,  356 

Opinions  of  prominent  citizens  of  Virginia.  Danger  of  Indian  war  in 
Georgia  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  356,  357 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  xxix 


1787.—  Continued. 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  Oct.  28  -      358 

Test  oaths.    Reception  of  the  Constitution  by  the  Virginia  Assembly      358 
The  disposition  of  other  States  towards  it  -      359 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Nov.  18  -  -      360 

Disposition  in  Virginia  towards  the  Constitution          ...      360 
The  Federalist.    Congress  360,  361 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Nov.  20  -  -      361 

The  Federalist.    No  quorum  in  Congress  361,  362 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Dec.  7     -  -      362 

The  Federalist.    Prospects  of  the  Constitution  -      362 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Dec.  9    -  -  362 

American  trees,  birds,  &c.,  &c.  -  363 

Prospects  of  the  Constitution  in  particular  States        -  -         363 — 367 

Three  parties  in  relation  to  it  in  Virginia  -      364 

Views  of  prominent  individuals.    Henry.    Opinions  in  Virginia  and 

New  England  classified  -      365 

Virginia  Assembly.  Prohibitions.  Revised  Code.  Henry.  Mason. 
No  quorum  in  Congress  366.  367 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Dec.  14    -  -  367 

Papers  in  favor  of  the  Federal  Constitution.    Virginia  Assembly      367,  368 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Dec.  26   -  -      368 

Expected  Convention  in  Massachusetts.  Gerry.  Dana.  Omission  in 
Mason's  published  objections  to  the  Constitution.  New  Jersey 
adopts  the  Constitution  -  368 

1788.— [P.  369—446.] 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Jan.  14    -  ...  359 

Information  received,  &c.     Federal  complexion  of  accounts  from 

Georgia,  &c.     -  .  359 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Jan.  20    -                                   -  369 
Arrival  of  Count  de  Moustier.    News  from  Europe      -  369 
Opposition  to  the  Constitution  in  Massachusetts.   Views  of  the  minor 
ity  in  Pennsylvania.    Georgia.    South  Carolina       -                       .  379 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Jan.  25   -  -  379 

Governor  Randolph's  letter  to  the  Virginia  Assembly  -  -  370 

Information  from  Boston.    Gerry.    A  Congress  of  seven  States  made 

ui>  371,  372 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Jan.  28   -                                   -  372 

Convention  in  Massachusetts.    Information  from  King.    Gerry  -      372 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Feb.  1                                                  -  373 

Information  from  King.    Gloomy  prospect  in  Massachusetts  -  -      373 

Encouraging  in  South  Carolina  -                                                 -  374 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Feb.  8    -                                   -  374 

Prospect  brightening  in  Massachusetts.    Hancock.    North  and  South 

Carolina.    New  York  -  374,  375 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1788. — Continued. 

To  G»JH  Washington.    New  York,  Feb.  11   -  -      375 

Hancock's  propositions  to  the  Massachusetts  Convention.    S.  Adams. 

Decision  expected  in  the  Virginia  Convention  375,  376 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Feb.  15    -  -      376 

Result  of  Convention  at  Boston.    Amendments.    New  Hampshire     -      376 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Feb.  19  -  -      376 

States  which  have  adopted  the  Federal  Constitution.  Votes.  Views, 
&c.,  of  the  minority  in  Massaehusetts.  Conduct  of  the  minority  in 
Connecticut  and  in  Pennsylvania  -  376.  377 

Conjectures  as  to  the  course  of  New  Hampshire,  South  Carolina,  Mary 
land.  North  Carolina,  and  Virginia.    Henry  and  Mason.    The  As 
sembly  of. Virginia.    The  District  Court  bill.    British  debts  -          378,  379 
To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Feb.  20  -  -      379 

A  candidate  for  the  Convention  -  379 

Notice  of  Gen.  Washington's  letter  to  Col.  Carter.    French  affairs     -      380 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  Feb.  21  381 

Politics  of  Virginia.  The  question  of  Union,  the  test  of  the  proposed 
Constitution.  Different  objections  of  non-signing  members,  writers, 
and  minorities.  Objections  classified  -  381 

Expectations  as  to  New  Hampshire,  Rhode  Island,  New  York,  and 
Charleston,  S.  C.    Lowndes.    Indications  of  an  approaching  Rev 
olution  in  France.    The  Dutch  patriots  -      382 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  March  3  -      382 
Unexpected  result  in  New  Hampshire.    Prospects       -                       -      382 
To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  March  3  -  -      383 
The  course  of  the  Convention  in  New  Hampshire.    Explanation  and 

prospects  383 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Orange,  April  10      -  384 

Conjectures  as  to  the  probable  fate  of  the  Constitution  in  the  Virginia 

Convention        -  -      384 

Personal  efforts  in  its  favor        -  38^,  385 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    Orange,  April  10    -  -      385 

Amendments  of  Masssachusetts.    Samuel  Adams.    Obligations,  under 

the  new  Constitution,  as  to  the  old  money     -  -      385 

Claim  of  the  Indiana  Company.    Retrospective  laws  and  retrospective 
construction.     Religious  test.     Recommendatory  alterations  pre 
ferred  to  a  conditional  ratification  or  a  second  Convention  -  386 
Henry.    Mason    -                                                                                   -      387 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  April  22      -                                                      387 
Elections  for  the  Convention.    Probable  dispositions  of  members. 
Opinions  of  notable  individuals.     Governor  Randolph's  temperate 
opposition.    R.  H.  Lee,  F.  L.  Lee,  J.  and  M.  Page    -                       -      3S7 
Different  grounds  of  opposition.    Henry.    Mason.    Preliminary  ques 
tion.    Objections  to  a  conditional  ratification  and  to  a  new  Conven 
tion.    Difficulty  in  ascertaining  the  real  sense  of  the  People  of  Vir- 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1788.—  Continued. 

ginia.    Geographical  view.    Weather,  crops,  &c.     -  388,  389 


FEDERAL  CONSTITUTION     -  -  389 — 398 

Examples  showing  defect  of  mere  Confederacies          ...      339 
Union  between  England  and  Scotland  -  -  389 — 392 

Sweden.    Denmark  -      391 

France.    Spain.     Poland  -      392 

Rival  communities  not  united  by  one  Government.    Historical  ex 
amples  -  392,  393 
Sparta.    People.    Carthage       -                       -  394 
Rome.    Power  of  Consuls.    Tribunes   -                                              395,  396 
Roman  Empire.    Modern  Europe           -                                                397,  398 
To  Gen.  Washington.    Richmond,  June  4     -                                               -      398 
Meeting  of  Virginia  Convention.  Prospects.    Randolph.    Henry.   Ma 
son.     Kentucky                                     -            -            -            -            -      398 
To  Gen.  Washington.     Richmond,  June  13  -                                                 -      399 
Result  doubtful.    British  debts.     Indiana  claim.     The  Mississippi. 
Kentucky.    Oswald,  an  anti-federal  messenger.     Henry.     Mason. 
New  York  elections     -                                     -  399 
To  Gen.  Washington.    Richmond,  June  18  -                                                 -      400 
Probable  smallness  of  majority  on  either  side.    Moderation.    Henry      400 
To  Col.  James  Madison.    June  20     -                                                           -      400 
Conjectured  majority  of  friends  of  the  Constitution.    Contest  concern 
ing  the  Judiciary  Department                                                               -      400 
To  Gen.  Washington.    Richmond,  June  23  -                                                 -      401 
Approaching  close  of  proceedings  on  the  Constitution.    Temper  of 

the  opposition.    Mason.    Henry.    A  bare  majority  expected         -      401 
To  Gen.  Washington.    Richmond,  June  25  -  -  -      401 

Vote  on  ratification.    Temper  of  opposition,  &c.  -  401,  402 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Richmond,  June  27  -  -  402 

Final  Adjournment  of  Convention.    Amendments.   Address  of  minor 
ity.    Henry's  declaration.    Probable  plan  of  minority        -  -      402 
To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  July  21  -                        -  403 
Movements  in  New  York  concerning  the  Constitution.    Views  as  to 
putting  the  new  Government  into  operation.    Anti-Federal  temper 
of  the  Executive  in  Maryland                                                   -           403,  404 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  July  24  -                        ...      4.94 
Virginia  Convention.    Final  question  on  the  new  Government  two 
fold.    Votes.    Moderation  and  decorum  of  members           -           -      404 
British  debtors.    Henry  and  Mason.    Attempt  to  bring  the  influence 
of  Jefferson's  name  against  the  Constitution.    Action,  &c.,  in  New 
Hampshire.    South  Carolina  and  New  York.    Crops                       405,406 
To  Col.  James  Madison.    New  York,  July  27                       ...      406 
Ratification,  by  New  York,  of  the  Federal  Constitution          -           -      406 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  August  10                                                    407 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1788. — Continued. 

Brissot.  Remarkable  form  of  the  New  York  ratification  of  the  new 
Government.  Address  concerning  amendments.  Danger  from 
another  Convention.  Convention  of  North  Carolina.  Action  in 
Congress  for  bringing  the  new  Government  into  operation.  Time 
for  first  meeting  agreed  on.  Uncertainty  as  to  place.  Different 
propositions.  The  "  Federalist."  Its  authors.  Mazzei  -  407,  408 
To  Gen.  Washington.  New  York,  Aug.  15  -  -  409 

Place  of  meeting  of  Congress.    Different  places  proposed       -  -      409 

Pestilent  tendency  of  a  circular  from  the  New  York  Convention. 

Speculations     -  -      410 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Aug.  23  -  -      410 

Rejection  by  North  Carolina  of  the  Constitution,  or  annexment  of  con 
ditions  precedent.  Causes  and  probable  effects  of  this  step.  Diffi 
culties  in  fixing  a  place  for  the  first  meeting  of  Congress.  Western 
country.  Spanish  intrigues.  The  "  Federalist "  -  -  411 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Aug.  24  -  -      412 

New  York  circular.  Inauspicious  tendencies  of  the  New  York  ratifi 
cation.  Local  zeal  for  the  selection  of  New  York  city,  as  the  place 
for  the  first  meeting  of  Congress.  Uncertainty  of  issue  on  this  point. 
Objections  to  the  selection  of  New  York  city  412,  413 

Views  as  to  a  final  residence      -  414,  415 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    New  York,  Sept.  6  -      415 

Exertions  of  Anti-Federalists  for  an  early  Convention.    Encourage 
ments.    Place  of  meeting  for  the  new  Government  -  -      415 
To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Sept.  14  -  -      416 

Time  and  place  fixed  for  the  meeting  of  the  new  Government.  Views 
as  to  its  permanent  seat.  Clinton's  Circular.  Language  of  the 
Aboriginal  Americans  416,  417 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Sept.  21  -  -      417 

The  Western  Country.  The  Mississippi.  Circular  from  New  York 
Convention.  Project  of  another  General  Convention.  Consulta 
tions  in  Pennsylvania.  Henry.  Randolph  -  417,  418 

Arrangements  for  bringing  the  new  Government  into  action.  Dispute 
concerning  place  of  meeting.  Places  proposed.  Chance  of  the  Po 
tomac.  Pamphlet  on  the  Mohegan  language  418,  419 

Question  of "  outfit"  -  419,420 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Oct.  8     -  -  420 

Rumors  concerning  La  Fayette.  Appointments  of  R.  Morris  and  Mc- 
Clay  to  the  Senate.  Election  laws  of  Pennsylvania,  Virginia,  and 
Connecticut.  Gen.  Washington  will  certainly  be  called  to  the  Pres 
idency.  Hancock  and  J.  Adams  most  talked  of  for  the  Vice  Presi 
dency.  Jay.  Knox.  Reported  capture  of  Doctor  and  Mm. 
Spence  -  420,  421 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York.  Oct.  17    -  -  -      421 

The  "  outfit."    Want  of  quorum  in  Congress.    Arrangements  for  put- 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  XXxiii 


1788.—  Continued. 

ting  the  new  Constitution  into  action.    The  Presidency  and  Vice 
Presidency.    Rutledge  -      422 

Hancock  and  J.  Adams  both  objectionable.  S.  Adams.  Collective 
view  of  alterations  proposed  by  State  Conventions  for  the  new  Con 
stitution.  Motives  in  Virginia  -  423 

Bill  of  rights  desirable  but  not  important,  and  why.  Violations  of 
the  bill  of  rights  in  Virginia.  Where  is  the  danger  of  oppression. 
In  our  Government,  in  the  majority  of  the  community.  Republics 
and  monarchies  compared  as  to  danger  of  oppression,  and  efficacy 
of  a  bill  of  rights  424,  425 

Use  of  a  bill  of  rights  in  popular  Governments.  Limitation  to  the 
doctrine  that  there  is  a  tendency  in  all  Governments  to  an  augmen 
tation  of  power  at  the  expense  of  liberty  -  -  426 

Question  as  to  absolute  restrictions  in  a  Bill  of  Rights,  in  cases  which 
are  doubtful,  or  where  emergencies  may  overrule  them.  Suspen 
sion  of  Habeas  Corpus,  in  the  alarm  of  a  Rebellion  or  insurrection. 
Standing  army.  Monopolies.  Nuisances.  Exceptions  and  guards. 
Proceedings  in  Kentucky  -  -  427 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  Oct.  20  -      428 

Resolutions  concerning  the  Mississippi.  The  temporary  seat  of  the 
new  Government.  Impartiality  in  administration  vital  to  repub 
lics.  Circular  from  New  York  Convention.  Evils  of  an  early  Con 
vention  -  -  428 

Probability  of  more  war  in  Europe.    France.    Struggle  between  the 

'  Aristocracy  and  the  Monarchy.   Late  measures  of  the  Court  tending 

to  the  popular  side.    La  Fayette  on  the  Anti-Court  side      -  -      429 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Oct.  21    -  -      429 

French  affairs.    La  Fayette.    Count  Moustier  and  Marchioness  Bre- 

han        -  -      429 

Johnson  and  Ellsworth,  Senators  from  Connecticut.  Opinions  on  the 
selection  of  New  York  as  the  temporary  seat  of  the  new  Govern 
ment.  Henry  -  -  430 

IPOTENTIARY  OP  FRANCE,  OCT.  30,  1788    -  430 — 433 
Contract  with  R.  Morris  -  -      430 
Supply  of  clothing  for  negroes.    Products  of  Virginia.    Trade  with 

France  and  the  Antilles,  &c.  -  431,  432 

Products  of  France  and  the  islands.    Tonnage,  &c.,  &c.  432,  433 

To  George  L.  Turberville.    New  York,  Nov.  2  -      433 

Another  General  Convention  suggested  by  New  York  -      433 

Some  amendments  to  the  Constitution  ought  to  be  made  -      434 

Objections  to  the  project  of  another  General  Convention.  Importance 

of  the  new  Constitution  434,  435 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  Nov.  5     -  -      436 

St.  John's  memorandum.    Col.  H.  Lee's  proposal.    A  land  specula- 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1788.—  Continued. 
tion       -  -      436 

Prospects  of  the  Constitution.    Public  conversation  on  the  Vice  Pres 
idency.    Hancock.    J.  Adams.    Jay.    Knox  -      437 
To  Edmund  Randolph.    Philadelphia,  Nov.  23        -  -      438 

Vote  for  the  Senate.  Probable  opposition  for  the  other  House.  Em 
barrassment  -  -  438 

Objection  to  appearance  of  electioneering         -  -      439 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Philadelphia,  Dec.  2  -  -      439 

Thanks  for  information  and  opinion.  State  of  election  in  Massachu 
setts  for  the  Senate.  Bowdoin.  Elections  in  New  Hampshire,  New 
Jersey,  Delaware,  Pennsylvania.  Postponement  in  South  Caro 
lina  -  439,  440 

Reasons  for  a  return  to  New  York.    Appearance  of  electioneering. 

Indisposition     -  -  440, 441 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  Dec.  8  -      441 

Certainty  of  a  peaceable  commencement  of  the  new  Government  in 
March  next,  and  favorable  prospects.  Gen.  Washington  will  cer 
tainly  be  President,  and  J.  Adams  probably  Vice  President.  Henry. 
Anti-Federal  and  Federal  Senators.  Proportion  of  Anti-Federal 
members  in  H.  of  Representatives.  Two  questions  before  the  pub 
lic.  Amendments  to  the  Constitution,  and  mode  of  making  them  -  441 

Motives  of  advocates  of  a  second  Convention.    G.  Morris's  visit  to 
Europe.    R.  Morris.    Private  transactions.    A  Candidate  for  H.  of 
Representatives.    Henry's  opposition  to  him.    Appearance  of  elec 
tioneering         -  -      442 
To  Philip  Mazzei.    Philadelphia,  Dec.  10     -  -      444 

His  book.    Plan  of  a  single  legislature.    Excess  of  liberty    -  -      444 

The  new  Constitution  ratified  by  all  the  States  except  two.    Appoint 
ments  of  Senators.    Prospect  as  to  elections  for  H.  of  Represent 
atives.    Object  of  the  Anti-Federalists  444,  445 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Philadelphia,  Dec.  12  -      446 

Returns  from  the  Western  Counties  of  Virginia.  Political  prospects. 
St.  Trise  -  446 

1789.— [P.  446—500.] 

To  George  Eve.    Jan.  2                                                                                 -  446 

Misrepresentations  of  opinions    -                                                           -  447 
Amendments  ought  to  be  proposed  by  the  first  Congress.    Why  this 

mode  is  preferable  to  a  general  Convention  -                                   -  448 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Orange,  Jan.  14        -                                               -  448 
Returns  from  two  electoral  Districts  in  Virginia.  Gen.  Stevens  elected 

in  one  of  them  -                                                                                   -  449 
Personal  contradiction  of  erroneous  reports     ...          44.9 ;  450 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    Alexandria,  March  1                                              -  450 
Necessity  of  personal  appearance  in  the  District.    Discouraging  an- 



1789.— Continued. 

ticipations         -  ...      450 

To  Gen.  "Washington.    Baltimore,  March  5   -  451 

Electoral  votes  of  Georgia.    Candidates  for  H.  of  Representatives     -      451 

Vote  in  South  Carolina  for  President  and  Vice  President        -  -      452 

To  Gen.  Washington.    Philadelphia,  March  8  -      452 

Arrival  at  Philadelphia,  and  intelligence  from  N.  York  -  -      452 

Policy  as  to  the  Western  Country  452,  453 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  March  19  -      453 

No  quorum  in  either  House  of  Congress.    Calculations  as  to  strength 

of  parties  -  -      453 

Singular  manner  of  election  in  N.  Jersey.    French  affairs        -         '453,  454 
To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York,  March  26  -      454 

Morgan's  Invitation.    Spanish  project.    No  Quorum    -  -  454,  455,  456 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  March  29  -      457 

Virginia  Electors  for  President  and  Vice  President.    Unanimous  vote 
with  respect  to  Gen.  Washington.    Secondary  votes  for  J.  Adams 
and  G.  Clinton.    Election  of  Representatives.    No  quorum  in  Con 
gress     -  457,  458 
Political  complexion  of  the  New  Congress.    Jefferson's  wish  to  return 

home  for  the  summer  -  -  459 

Morgan's  invitation.     Policy  of  Spain.     Dispute  between  the  two 

branches  of  the  New  York  legislature  -      461 

To  Gen.  Washington.    New  York.  April  6   -  -      461 

Arrival  of  R.  H.  Lee.    A  quorum  formed.    Election  of  officers  of  H. 
'   of  R.  -      461 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  April  8  -      461 

Examination  of  ballots  for  President  and  Vice  President.  Unanimous 
vote  for  Gen.  Washington  as  President.  J.  Adams  elected  Vice 
President.  Notices  to  them.  Officers.  Rules  agreed  on.  Federal 
ists  predominate  in  both  branches.  Disability  of  George  3rd,  and 
Regency.  Discussion  between  the  Prince  of  Wales  and  Pitt  -  462 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  April  12  -      463 

New  Government  not  yet  organized  in  its  Executive  capacity.    Im 
posts.    Amendments  to  the  Constitution        -  -      463 
Sherman's  opinions.    British  debts.     Taxes      -  -      464 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  April  19  -      464 
Non-arrival  of  President  and  Vice  President.    Impost.    Mental  condi 
tion  of  George  3d.    Contingent  perplexity    -                                   464,  465 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  May  9     -  -      465 
Books  wanted,  &c.    Congressional  Register.    Its  faults.    Duties.    Dis 
cordant  views,  &c.        -                                                                         465,  466 
Distinction  between  nations  in  and  not  in  Treaty.    New  York  city 
steeped  in  Anglicism.    Cypher.    President's  Speech;  address  of  H. 
R.;  reply.    Titles         -                                                                          -      467 
To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  May  10             ....      457 

XXXvi  CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1789. — Continued. 

Imposts.  Plan  of  temporary  collection.  Unanimous  opinion  that  Gen. 
Washington's  acceptance  of  the  Presidency  was  essential  to  ihe 
commencement  of  the  Government.  Speech  and  answer.  Titles. 
Their  friends  in  the  Senate.  R.  H.  Lee  468,  469 

To  James  Monroe.    New  York,  May  13  -      469 

Ratio  of  particular  duties.    Excises       -  -      469 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  May  17  -      470 

Bill  for  rating  duties.    Proposition  as  to  Great  Britain  -      470 

To  Thomas  Jeiferson.    New  York,  May  23  -  -      470 

President's  Speech,  and  answers  of  the  two  Houses.  Titles.  J.  Adams 
and  R.  H.  Lee.    Proposed  title  of  the  President.    Moustier.    Mar 
chioness  de  Brehan.    Collection  bill  -  470,  471 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  May  27  -  -      471 
Obstacles  to  Jefferson's  desired  visit  to  America.    Auxiliary  offices  to 
the  President.     Knox.     Jay.     Livingston.     Hamilton.    Jefferson. 
Abolishing  discriminations  in  favor  of  nations  in  Treaty.  R.  H.  Lee 
on  titles,  discriminations,  and  the  "Western  Country.    Madame  Bre 
han.    Moustier.    Amendments.    Bill  of  rights.    Kentucky-           471,472 
Temper  of  Congress.    Spirit  of  the  H.  of  R.                                          -      473 
To  Edmund  Randolph.     New  York,  May  31                                                   -      473 
Mrs.  Randolph's  health.    R.  H.  Lee.    Duties.    Idea  of  putting  G. 
Britain  on  the  footing  of  a  most  favored  nation.    Difficulties  from 
want  of  precedents,  &c.    Arrangement  of  subordinate  Executive 
Departments     -                                                                                   -      474 
Reasons  for  a  power  of  removal  in  the  President                                  -      475 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    N.  York,  June  13      -                                               -      475 
Introduction  of  constitutional  amendments  into  H.  of  R.                     475,  476 
To  Edmund  Randolph.    N.  Y.,  June  17        -  476 
Judiciary  bill.    Question  as  to  power  of  removal  in  the  President. 
Reasons  for  it.     The  Executive  function  of  the  Senate  excep 
tional    -                                                                                              476,  477 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  June  21                                                -      477 
Removals  from  office.    Objections  to  action  of  the  Legislature.    De 
cision  against  it.    As  to  possible  encroachments  of  the  respective 
branches  of  the  Government.    Amendments  to  the  Constitution 

477,  478,  479 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  June  24  -      479 

Erroneous  reports  of  discussions  on  removals  from  office.    Leave  to 
Jefferson  to  visit  his  own  country.    Alarming  illness  and  convales 
cence  of  the  President  -      479 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  June  30  -                                               -      479 
Leave  to  visit  America.    Tardy  progress  of  Federal  business.    Bill 
for  regulating  duties.    Discrimination  in  favor  of  nations  in  Treaty. 
Reasons  against  and  for  it.    Great  Britain.    Tonnage  bill.    Sena 
tors  from  Virginia.    Mistake  as  to  Grayson  -           479,  480,  481,  482,  483 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  XXXvil 


1789.— Continued. 

Impost.    War.  Foreign,  and  Treasury  Departments.     Question  as  to 
removals  from  office.  Constitution  silent.  Four  opinions  advanced. 
Discussion.    Decision  of  H.  of  R.    Jay  and  Knox.    Treasury  De 
partment.    Hamilton  -  483,  484 
Senate  Bill  for  Judiciary  Department.    Amendments  to  Constitution. 

Recent  illness  of  the  President  -      485 

To  Col.  James  Madison.    New  York,  July  5  -      485 

Domestic.    Novelty  and  difficulties  of  public  business.    Duties  on  im 
ports  and  tonnage.    No  distinction  to  be  made  between  nations  in 
and  those  not  in  Treaty.    Commercial  intercourse  with  Great  Brit 
ain.    Amendments  to  the  Constitution  485,  486 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  July  15  -      487 
Pendleton's  remarks  on  the  Judiciary  bill.    Decision  of  H.  of  R.  on 
the  power  of  removal.    Why  the  Senate  should  not  participate  in 
it.     The  least  responsible  member  of  the  Government.     The  Ju 
diciary.    Duties.    Collection  bill.    Regulations  for  Virginia          -      487 
To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  July  15                                                  -      488 
Judiciary  bill.    Power  of  removal.    Opinions.    Impost  Act.    Collec 
tion  bill.    Virginia      -                                                                         488,  489 
To  James  Monroe.    New  York,  August  9                                                       -      489 
Proposed  discrimination  between  Foreign  nations.    Gerry's  motion. 

Compensation  to  members  of  Congress  -      489 

Indian  affairs.    Militia  Bills        -  -      490 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  August  21  -      490 

Amendments  to  the  Constitution.  Judiciary  bill.  Randolph's  dis 
course  in  the  Convention.  Wishes  him  to  deduce  from  his  notes 
the  argument  on  a  condensed  plan  -  490,  491 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  Sept.  14  -      491 

The  Judiciary  bill  defective.  Its  offensive  violations  of  Southern 
jurisprudence.  Amendments  from  the  Senate.  Permanent  seat  of 
the  Federal  Government.  Parties  on  the  subject  -  491,  492 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  Sept.  23  -      492 

Amendments  to  the  Judiciary  bill.  Bill  for  establishing  the  Susque- 
hannah  as  the  permanent  seat  of  Government.  Views  and  schemes. 
French  affairs  -  -  493 

The  King.    Neckar.    Fayette.    Committees  of  safety  on  the  Ameri 
can  model  -      494 
To  George  Washington.    Orange,  Nov.  20  -  -      494 
Spanish  movements.    Morris  on  the  residence  of  Congress.    Probable 
schemes,  &c.    Virginia  Legislature.    Henry,  and  the  project  of  the 
commutable.    Amendments  to  the  Federal  Constitution.    Quiet  of 
its  opponents    -                                                                                     495,  496 
To  George  Washington.    Orange,  Dec.  5  -      496 
Letters  of  Senators  of  Virginia,  written  by  R.  H.  Lee.    Proceedings 
of  the  Legislature.    Amendments  to  the  Federal  Constitution.    Ap- 


CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 

1789.—  Continued. 

pointments  of  Joseph  Jones  and  Spencer  Roane  as  Judges  of  the 
General  Court.  Death  of  Carey,  and  transfer  of  Mercer  to  Court  of 
Appeals  497,  498 

Letter  from  Senators  R.  H.  Lee  and  Wm.  Grayson  to  the  Legislature  of 

Virginia   -  499,500 

1790.—  [P.  500—522.1 

To  George  Washington.    Georgetown,  Jan.  4  -      500 

Amendments  to  the  Federal  Constitution  lost  in  the  Virginia  Assem 
bly.  Jefferson's  doubts  about  accepting  the  appointment  of  Secre 
tary  of  State.  His  fitness  for  it  500,  501 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Jan.  24   -  -      501 

Hamilton's  plan  of  Revenue.  Knox's  plan  of  militia.  Universal  anx 
iety  for  Jefferson's  acceptance  of  the  appointment  of  Secretary  of 
State.  French  politics  and  prices  -  501,  502 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  February  4  -      503 

Examination  of  Jefferson's  position  that  one  generation  of  men  has 

no  right  to  bind  another.    Objections  to  the  doctrine      503,  504.  505,  506 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  Feb.  14  -  -      507 

Hamilton's  report.  Proposed  reduction  of  the  transferred  principal 
of  the  domestic  debt.  An  equitable  rule  would  be  to  allow  the 
highest  market  price  to  the  purchaser,  and  to  apply  the  balance  to 
the  original  sufferer.  Difficulty  of  the  plan  not  insuperable.  Bill 
for  taking  a  census.  Utility  of  a  decennial  repetition  of  it.  Con- 
temp  tously  thrown  out  by  the  Senate  -  507 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  March  4  -      507 

Census  act.  Report  of  Secretary  of  Treasury.  Plan  for  settling  do 
mestic  debt.  Equitable  view.  Proposed  assumption  of  the  State 
debts.  Effort  to  refer  the  assumption  to  the  State  of  the  debts  at  the 
close  of  the  war.  Unequal  bearing  of  an  assumption  of  the  exist 
ing  debts  in  Virginia  and  Massachusetts.  Case  of  South  Carolina. 
France.  The  Austrian  Netherlands.  Spain.  Influence  of  the  Amer 
ican  example  -  508,  509 

To  Dr.  Rush.    New  York,  March  7    -  -      509 

The  Doctor's  opinion  on  the  proposition  to  divide  the  payment  of  the 
domestic  debt  between  the  original  and  purchasing  holders  of  cer 
tificates.  Something  "  radically  immoral,  and  consequently  im 
politic,"  in  making  the  whole  payment  to  the  purchasers.  A  pam 
phlet  by  Dr.  Rush  -  510,  511 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  March  8  -  511 

Objections  to  the  proposed  plan  for  assuming  the  State  Debts  -      511 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  March  14  -      511 

A  decision  by  a  large  majority  not  coinciding  with  the  supposed  pre 
vailing  sense  of  the  People.  [Qu.?]  Assumption  of  State  debts. 
Course  of  the  Virginia  delegation.  Bland.  Debts  of  the  Union. 



1790.—  Continued. 

Proposed  National  Debt  511,512 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  March  21  512 

Domestic.  Language  of  Richmond  as  to  the  proposed  discrimination. 
Personal  animosity.  Debates  occasioned  by  the  Quakers.  State 
debts.  Paper  money  in  Georgia,  the  Carolinas,  &c.,  to  Rhode  Island. 
French  affairs  -  512,  513 

To  Edmund  Randolph.    New  York,  March  30  -      513 

Disappointment  in  seeing  the  President.    Resolutions  on  the  Treasury 

report.    Assumption  of  State  Debts.    Prospects       -  513,  514 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  April  4  -      514 

Assumption  of  State  debts.  Bland.  Historical  magnitude  of  the 
American  Revolution.  Importance  of  the  proceedings  in  Virginia 
during  the  crisis  of  the  Stamp  Act.  Application  to  Randolph  for 
brief  notes  of  them  -  514,515 

To  Gen.  Henry  Lee.    New  York,  April  13  -  -      515 

Public  prospects.  Seat  of  Government.  Reception  in  Virginia  of  the 
plan  of  discrimination.  The  rural  districts  there  not  in  unison  with 
the  cities  -  -  -  515 

Faults,  and  the  apology  for  them,  of  the  Report  of  the  Secretary  of 
the  Treasury.  Proposed  assumption  of  State  debts.  Contradictory 
decision.  Last  vote.  Zeal  and  perseverance  of  the  minority.  Lee's 
reflections  on  a  public  debt.  A  public  debt  a  public  curse,  especially 
in  a  republic  -  -  .  516 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  April  13  -      517 

Negative  of  the  proposed  assumption  of  State  debts.    The  project  not 

abandoned        -  -      517 

To  James  Monroe.    New  York,  April  17  -      517 

Same  subject.    Prophetic  menaces  of  the  Eastern  members     -  -      517 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  May  2  -  -      518 

Pendleton's  notes,  &c.,  on  the  subject  of  the  Stamp  Act.   New  experi 
ments  of  the  advocates  of  assumption  -      518 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  May  19  -      518 
Recent  critical  illness  of  the  President.  Commercial  relation  to  Great 
Britain.    Funding  of  the  public  debt.    Assumption  of  State  debts. 
Motives  of  its  advocates                                                                        518,  519 
To  James  Monroe.    New  York,  June  1  -      519 
Assumption  revived.    Funding  bill.    Experiment  for  navigation  and 
commercial  purposes.    Opinions,  projects,  &c.,  as  to  temporary  and 
permanent  seat  of  Government.    Death  of  Bland.    President's  re 
covery.    Jefferson        -                                                                         519,  520 
To  James  Monroe.    New  York,  June  17       -  -      520 
Question  concerning  the  seat  of  Government,  temporary  and  perma 
nent.    Baltimore.    Assumption.    Funding  bill         -  -      520 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York.  June  22  -      620 
Pressure  of  business.    Funding  and  revenue  systems.    Assumption  of 

xl  CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1790.— Continued. 

State  debts.     Seat  of  Government.     Great  Britain  itching  for 
wur        -  -  520,521 

To  James  Monroe.    New  York,  July  4  -      521 

Senate  bill  fixing  the  temporary  and  the  permanent  seat  of  Govern 
ment.    Public  debt.    Assumption      -  -  621, 522 
To  James  Monroe.    New  York,  July  24        -  -      522 
Prospects  of  the  Assumption.    Spirit  of  accommodation  necessary     -      522 

1791.— [P.  523—545.] 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    New  York,  January  2  523 

Legal  character  of  the  stipulation  in  the  Treaty  concerning  the  recov 
ery  of  debts.  Construction  of  the  Legislation  on  the  Treaty.  Bear 
ing  of  the  Treaty  on  acts  of  limitation.  Rule  of  interpretation  should 
be  liberal  523,  524 

Meaning  of  the  phrase  "  Supreme  Law,"  as  applied  to  Treaties.  Au 
thority  to  annul  the  Treaty.  A  breach  on  one  side  discharges  the 
other,  if  that  other  sees  fit  to  take  advantage  of  the  breach.  Prac 
tical  inference  as  to  the  treaty  with  G.  Britain.  Hamilton's  plan 
of  a- Bank.  Randolph's  report  on  the  Judiciary.  Report  concern 
ing  the  assumed  debt.  Objections  and  difficulties.  Militia  bill. 
Public  Lands.  Weights  and  measures.  Case  of  Kentucky.  Ver 
mont  -  524,  525 
Letter  from  Lord  Mayor  of  London  to  Duke  of  Leeds.  Supposed  peace 

between  G.  Britain  and  Spain  -      526 

To  James  Madison.    Phila.,  Jan.  23  -  -      527 

Peace  between  G.  Britain  and  Spain.  Excise  bill.  Kentucky  bill. 
Bills  concerning  a  Bank,  the  militia,  Western  lands,  &c.  Webb's 
petition.  Statistical  inquiries  -  527 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Feb.  13      -  -      528 

Unconstitutionality  of  Bank  bill.    Excise.    A  direct  tax  offensive  in 
and  out  of  Congress.   Kentucky  bill.   Vermont.   Public  lands,  mili 
tia,  and  other  bills       -  528 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    February  13                                                                 529 
Price  of  wheat.    Certificates.    Webb's  petition.    Excise  and  Bank 
bills.    Kentucky  admitted.    Bill  for  selling  the  Western  lands.    An 
earthquake.    Weather                                                                        529,  530 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  May  1     -  -      534 

Priestley's  answer  to  Burke.  Jefferson's  idea  of  limiting  the  right  to 
bind  posterity,  germinating  under  Burke 's  extravagance.  Rumor 
of  the  suppression  in  England  of  Paine's  answer  to  Burke.  Fraudu 
lent  practice  of  taking  out  administration  on  the  effects  of  deceased 
soldiers.  Great  amount  of  unclaimed  dues  to  the  U.  S.  Temptation 
to  the  collusion  of  clerks,  &c.  Indecent  conduct  of  partisans  of  the 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I.  xll 


1791.— Continued* 

Bank  bilU  King's  opinions  on  British  relations  to  U.  S.    Smith's 
suggestion  on  information,  &c.,  &c.     -  -  534, 535 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  May  12  -  -      535 

Jefferson  brought  into  the  frontispiece  of  Paine's  pamphlet.     J. 
Adams's  Defence,  &c.    His  anti-republican  discourses  since  he  has 
been  Vice  President.     Ridiculous  sensibility  of  Hammond  and 
Bond.    Possible  trip  to  Boston.    Political  prospects  in  Virginia    535,  536 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  June  23  -  -      537 

French  regulations  concerning  tobacco.  Publicola.    Pamphlet  on  the 

Bank     -  ...      537 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  June  27  -  -      537 

Col.  Smith's  conversations  with  the  British  ministry     -  -      537 

J.  Adams's  difficulties.    Attack  on  Paine,  and  obnoxious  principles. 

His  letter  to  Wythe  in  1776     -  -      538 

To  Thomas  Jefferson,  New  York,  July  10     -  -      533 

Rise  of  Bank  shares.  Admission  and  inference.   Bank  jobbers.   Polit 
ical  gambling  -  -      538 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  July  13  -  -      539 
Beckley's  report  of   J.  Adams's  unpopularity.     Publicola.    J.  Q. 

Adams.    J.  Adams's  method  and  style  -      539 

Bank  shares.  Alleged  manoeuvres  of  Philadelphia  to  the  prejudice  of 
New  York,  Boston,  and  Baltimore.  Remark  attributed  to  Pitt.  G. 
Morris.  Luzerne.  Beckwith.  Paine  539, 540 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  August  4  -      540 

Speculations  in  stock,  &c.,  carried  on  with  money  borrowed  at  heavy 

usury     -  -      540 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    New  York,  August  8  -      541 

Surmise  as  to  the  deferred  debt.  Difference  between  old  paper  under 
a  bad  Government,  and  new  paper  under  a  good  one.  Moral  and 
political  dangers  from  the  Bank.  The  stock  jobbers  -  541 

To  Robert  Pleasants.    Phila.,  October  30    -  -      542 

Petition  concerning  the  Militia  bill.  Personal  objection  to  presenting 
the  petition  concerning  slavery.  Probable  effect  of  such  an  appli 
cation  to  the  Legislature  of  Virginia,  on  the  existing  privilege  of 
manumission  -  -  542, 543 

To  Gen.  Henry  Lee.    Phila.,  Dec.  18  -      543 

Freneau.    The  Western  disaster  -      543 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Dec.  18        -  -      543 

Discussion  before  the  Federal  Court  at  Richmond.  Proceedings  of 
Congress.  Disagreement  of  the  two  Houses  on  the  Representation 
bill.  Fractions.  Prospects  as  to  the  result  -  -  544 

Hammond's  reported  disavowal  of  encouragement  by  the  Government 
of  Canada  to  Indian  hostilities,  T.  Pinckney  to  be  Minister  to  Lon 
don.  French  affairs.  The  King's  acceptance  of  the  Constitution. 
Election  of  the  Legislative  Assembly  -  -  -  -  545 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1792.— [P.  545—574.] 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Jan.  21  -      545 

The  Representation  bill.  Proposed  compensation  for  present  inequality 

of  fractions.    How  relished     -  -      546 

H.  of  Reps,  occupied  with  shut  doors  on  the  subject  of  the  Western 
frontiers.  Hamilton's  report  on  manufactures.  Its  Constitutional 
doctrine.  Subversion  of  the  fundamental  and  characteristic  princi 
ple  of  the  Govt.  The  phrase,  "  General  Welfare,"  copied  from  the 
Articles  of  Confederation;  and  always  understood  as  nothing  more 
than  a  general  caption  to  the  specified  powers,  and  therefore  pre 
ferred  in  the  Constitution  as  less  liable  to  misconstruction  -  546,  547 
To  Gen.  Henry  Lee.  Jan.  29  -  547 

Western  defence.    Justifying  memorial  of  the  Executive         -  -      547 

To  Gen.  Henry  Lee.    February  12    -  -      547 

Military  bill  in  the  Senate.    Suggested  exchange  of  stations.    Corn- 

wallis  and  Tippoo  547,  548 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Feb.  21       -  -      548 

Report  on  manufactures.  Bill  concerning  election  of  President  and 
Vice  President.  Question  as  to  number  of  electors.  Provision  for 
case  of  a  double  vacancy,  certainly  erroneous.  Various  objections 
to  it.  Proposition  in  H.  of  R.  to  substitute  the  Secretary  of  State. 
Another  Representation  bill  -  548,  549 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  March  25    -  -      549 

Perseverance  and  victory  of  the  Northern  members  on  the  Represen 
tation  bill.  Result  unconstitutional.  Treasury  reports.  Militia  bill. 
Mint.  St.  Domingo.  Failure  of  a  New  York  speculator.  Extensive 
ruin  caused  by  it  549,  550 

To  Gen.  Henry  Lee.    Phila.,  March  28         -  -      551 

Gen.  St.  Clair.  Proposed  inquiry  into  the  cause  of  Western  calamities. 
Mint  bill.   Proposition  of  the  Senate  to  stamp  the  head  of  the  Pres 
ident,  for  the  time  being,  on  one  side  of  the  coin      -  551,  552 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  April  9        -  -      552 
President  negatives  the  Representation  bill.    Assumption  of  the  re 
mainder  of  the  State  debts.    Western  defence.    Bankruptcies  in 
New  York         -                                                                                    -      552 
To  Gen.  Henry  Lee.    Phila.,  April  15                                                          -      553 
Nominations  for  General  officers.    Wilkinson.    Commander-in-Chief. 

Anticipations,  &c.,  as  to  a  military  appointment.    Gen. 

Lee's  present  station  as  Governor  of  Virginia.    Augmented  duties. 
Speculating  and  Banking  in  New  York.    President's  negative  on 
the  Representation  bill.     The  law  providing  for  invalid  pensioners 
pronounced  by  the  Judges  to  be  unconstitutional.    The  power     553,  554 

The  subject  of,  the  mode,  and  time  for  making  known,  the  President's 
intention  of  retiring  from  public  life,  on  the  expiration  of  his  four 
years  -  -  554—559 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1792.— Continued. 

May  9,  25.    Farther  conversation,  &c.,  on  the  subject  559,  5GC 

To  Mr.  Jefferson.    Orange,  June  12  -  -      560 

Answer  to  Hammond.    Criticisms  in  the  cabinet.    Kentucky.   Brown. 
Campbell.    Muter.    Brackenridge.    Greenup.    The  Excise.    Effect 
of  Sidney,  a  writer  in  the  Gazette.    Tax  on  newspapers.    Freneau      561 
Drought.  Crops.    Meeting  with  the  President  on  the  road.    Problem 
as  to  his  declining  a  re-election.    Monroe.    Mease's  oration  on  Hy 
drophobia.    Tableau  of  national  debts  and  polls      -  562,563 
To  President  Washington.    Orange,  June  21   -        -  -      563 
Questions  as  to  a  notification  of  Washington's  purpose  to  retire.  Time, 
mode,  valedictory  address;  whether  notification  and  address  should 
be  separate  acts,  or  blended  together.  Requests  reconsideration  of 
the  purpose  to  retire.    Encloses  draught  of  an  address,  following 
the  prescribed  outline                                                             -  563,  564,  565 
THE  DRAUGHT  above  referred  to                                  -                        -         565 — 568 
To  Edmund  Randolph.    Orange,  Sept.  13    -                                               -      569 
A  publication  in  Fenno's  paper.    Jefferson.    Freneau 's  talents,  mer 
its,  and  sufferings  in  the  Revolution.    The  application  for  his  ap 
pointment  to  his  present  Clerkship  suggested  by  Gen.  H.  Lee.     Ad 
vice  to  establish  a  press  in  Phila.    Motives.    Calumnious  charges. 
Why  they  have  not  been  publicly  answered  -                                  569.  570 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Nov.  16       -                                               -      571 
President's  speech,  and  answers  of  the  two  Houses.    Answer  of  H. 
of  R.  as  to  the  Excise.    Criticisms.    Anonymous  pamphlet  reflect 
ing  on  Madison  and  other  of  Pendleton 's  friends       -  571 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Dec.  6         -                                                 -      572 
French  affairs.    Formidable  combination  against  the  Revolution,  &c. 
Disposition  of  the  nation.    Newspaper  tax.    Election  of  Vice  Pres 
ident.   J.  Adams  and  Gov.  Clinton.    Political  principles  of  Adams. 
Harvest  in  Europe.    Prices.    Col.  Taylor.    Jefferson's  probable  re 
tirement                                                                                   -          572,  573 
To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila.,  Dec.  10       -                                               -      573 
New  Treasury  Report.    Query  as  to  a  tax  on  horses.    Operation  of  it 
in  different  places.    Queries  -                                               -          573, 574 

1Y93.— [P.  574—654.] 

To  Edmund  Pendleton.    Phila..  Feb.  23  -      57* 

Talents,  &c.,  of  [John  Taylor]  successor  to  R.  H.  Lee.  Approaching 
election  in  Virginia  for  H.  of  R.  Mr.  C.  Scrutiny  into  administra 
tion  of  Treasury  Dept.  Giles's  resolutions.  British  Ministry.  Paine. 
French  affairs.  Spain  574,  575 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  April  12  -      57t> 

Dunlap.  Evil  of  premature  denunciations.  Public  sentiment  in  Vir 
ginia.  Election  for  H.  of  R.  The  only  discontinued  representa 
tive  from  Virginia  in  the  last  Congress.  Member  for  the  Alexan- 

xljv  CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1793. — Continued. 

dria  district.  G.'s  vote  on  the  resolutions  of  censure.  J.  Cole, 
Hancock,  Preston,  Brackenridge,  Greenup.  Sympathy  with  fate  of 
Louis  XVI.  The  man  and  the  monarch.  Prospect  as  to  crops. 
Weather.  Ploughs  -  576, 577 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  May  8  -      578 

Wish  that  Genet  may  be  properly  received.  Impression  as  to  effect 
of  the  Treaty.  The  Proclamation.  Quibbling  on  Vattel.  Effect  of 
a  change  of  Government  on  public  engagements.  Weather.  Vege 
tation.  Pamphlet  on  the  proceedings  in  the  case  of  the  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury  578,  579 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    May  27  -      579 

Jefferson's  longings  for  private  life.  Objections  to  their  gratification. 
Genet.  Fiscal  party  in  Alexandria.  Georgetown.  Fredericksburg. 
The  executive.  Secret  Anglomany  -  579,  580 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  June  13  -  -      580 

Letter  to  a  French  minister.    Apostasy  of  Dumouriez  -      580 

Criticisms  on  the  President's  proclamation.  Authority  to  declare  the 
disposition  of  the  U.  S.  on  a  question  of  war  or  peace.  Snares  for 
the  President  -  581,  582 

Sentiment  of  Virginia  concerning  liberty  and  France.  Heretical  tone 

of  the  towns.    Weather.    Crops.    Kentucky  coffee  trees     -          582,  583 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange,  June  17       -  -      583 

French  affairs.  W.  C.  Nicholas.  Sympathy  of  the  People  of  Virginia 
with  the  French  Revolution.  Jay's  judicial  opinion  on  a  question 
concerning  British  debts.  Reflections  583,  584 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    Orange.  June  19  -      584 

Anglified  complexion  charged  on  the  Executive  politics.    The  Proc 
lamation  an  unfortunate  error.    Reflections  -  584 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    June  29                                 ....      585 
The  Proclamation.  Seizure  and  search  of  American  vessels  for  French 

goods    -  -  -      585 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    July  18  ...      585 

A  subject  recommended  to  the  writer's  attention.  [Qu.:  Pacificus?] 
Pamphlet  and  ploughs.  Genet's  folly.  De  la  Forest.  Harvest 

585,  586 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    July  22  -      586 

W.  C.  Nicholas.  E.  Randolph.  Their  sentiments  on  the  French  Rev 
olution.  Allowance  to  be  made  in  conversations,  &c.  Suspicions 
of  Nicholas  imputing  to  Hamilton  a  secret  design  against  the  Pres 
ident.  Printed  papers.  [Qu.:  Pacificus?]  Difficulties  in  the  way  of 
discussing  the  subject.  Controversial  precautions  -  -  586,  587,  588 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    July  30  -      588 

Acknowledgment  of  papers,  &c.,  received.  Has  forced  himself  into 
the  task  of  a  reply  [to  Pacificus.]  Vexations.  "Prolixity  and  per 
tinacity  "  of  the  antagonist.  Question  as  to  ideas  of  France  and  of 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1793.— Continued. 

the  President  on  certain  points  ...          588, 589 

The  President's  journey  to  Virginia.    Errors  as  to  public  sentiment. 

Ploughs.    Dr.  Logan.    Crops.    Weather       -  589, 590 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    August  5  -  590 

Jefferson's  distressing  account  of  Genet's  proceedings.  His  folly.  Sus 
picions.    Last  topic  of  Pacificus.    His  feeble  defence  of  an  import 
ant  point  -  -  -  -  -  -      590 

To  Thomas  Jefferson.    August  11     -  -      591 

Key  to  the  cypher  left  wanting.    Necessity  of  abridging  the  answer 
to  Pacificus.    Particular  delicacy  of  one  topic.    Pamphlet  against 
the  fiscal  system,  by  the  reputed  author  of  Franklin.    Communica 
tion  to  F.,  &c.  -  -      591 
Paper  for  J.  F.    Requests  critical  examination,  &c.,  &c.,  and  erasure 
of  quotation  from  the  Federalist,  if  deemed  objectionable  on  the 
ground  of  delicacy.    Drought                                    -  -      592 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    August  20     -  -      593 
Proposed  visit  to  Monroe.    Requests  aid  concerning  the  publication 
of  Helvidius.  The  last  No.  required  particular  care,  but  necessarily 
hurried.    More  quotations  from  the  Federalist,  to  be  omitted  if, 
&c.,  &c.    Paragraph  concerning  Spain.    President's  answers  to  ad 
dresses.    Drought        -                                                                      593, 594 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    At  Col.  Monroe's,  Aug.  22  -  -      594 
Helvidius.    Apology  for  an  error  of  fact  -      594 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    August  27      -  -      595 
Certificate  of  Jay  and  King.    Wythe  at  the  head  of  certain  proceed 
ings  at  Richmond.    His  disgusts  from  the  State  legislature.    Plan 
for  making  political  use  of  Genet's  indiscretions.    Counteraction. 
Wish  for  Pendleton's  support                                                            595,  596 
To  Thomas  Jefferson.    September  2  -      596 
Genet's  unaccountable  and  distressing  conduct.  Use  made  of  it.  An 
tidote  to  the  poison.    Encloses  sketch  of  ideas  for  use  at  county 
meetings.  Conversation  between  the  President  and  Jefferson.  Anx 
iety  to  retain  J.  in  office.    Reasons  for  his  remaining.    His  contin 
gent  successor  would  probably  be  King  or  E.  Rutledge.    Monroe's 
perplexity  about  Genet.    Suggestion.    Palliatives  of  Genet's  con 
duct  in  certain  errors  of  our  own  Government                                597,  598 
W.  C.  Nicholas.    E.  Randolph  drew  the  proclamation,  and  reprobates 
the  comment  of  Pacificus.    Hamilton.  The  task  to  be  resumed.  Its 
awkwardness.    Visitors                       ...  .      599 

To  James  Monroe.    September  15     -  -      601 

Mad  conduct  of  Genet.  Its  effect  on  his  own  votaries  in  Philadel 
phia;  on  Anglicans  and  Monocrats.  War  of  G.  Britain  on  Ameri 
can  commerce.  Malignant  fever  in  Philadelphia.  Jefferson,  and 
a  composition  of  John  Taylor  -  -  601,  602 

CONTENTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1793.— Continued. 

To  George  Washington.    Orange,  Oct.  24    -  -      602 

Questions  as  to  the  meeting  of  Congress,  arising  from  the  existence  of 
malignant  fever  at  Philadelphia.    Duty  and  constitutional  power 
of  the  Executive.    Conclusion.    Draught  of  notification      -  602,  603.  604 
To  James  Monroe.    October  29  -      605 

Resolutions  proposed  at  Fredericksburg.  Letter  from  Bordeaux. 
Culpeper  meeting.  Fauquier  resolutions.  Davis's  papers.  Forward 
corn,  &c.  605.  606 


WASHINGTON'S  PROCLAMATION  OF  NEUTRALITY,  APRIL  22,  1793         607 — 654 
Answer  to  the  argument  that  the  powers  of  declaring  war  and  treaties 

are,  in  their  nature,  Executive  powers  612 — 619,  621 

In  G.  B.  they  are  royal  prerogatives     -  -      619 

The  Federalist,  No.  75    -  620 

Argument  from  the  admissions  that  the  right  to  declare  war  is  vested 
in  the  Legislature,  and  that  it  includes  the  right  to  judge  whether 
the  U.  S.  be  obliged  to  declare  war  or  not  -  622 — 62G 

Neutrality  defined  -      627 

Answer  to  the  argument  founded  on  the  clause  of  the  Constitution  de 
claring  that  the  President  "  shall  take  care  that  the  laws  be  faith 
fully  executed "  626—630 
Asserted  right  and  duty  of  the  Executive  to  interpret  certain  treaty 

stipulations      -  -      630 

Inferences  from  the  right  of  the  Executive  to  receive  public  ministers 

631,  632 

Federalist,  No.  69.  The  authority  of  the  Executive  does  not  extend  to 
a  question  whether  an  existing  Government  ought  to  be  recognised 
or  not  -  -  -  633 

Right  of  every  nation  to  abolish  an  old  Government  and  establish  a 

new  one  -      633 

Treaties  formed  by  the  Government  are  treaties  of  the  Nation,  unless 

otherwise  expressed  in  the  treaties    -  -      634 

Treaties  not  affected  by  a  change  of  Government         -  -      634 

No  more  right  in  the  Executive  to  suspend.  &c.,  a  treaty  on  account 

of  a  change  of  Government,  than  to  suspend  any  other  law  -      634 

Draught  of  a  supposed  Proclamation  founded  on  the  prerogative  and 

policy  of  suspending  the  Treaty  with  France  634,  635 

Qualification  of  the  suspending  power.     Answer  635 — 638 

Public  rights  of  two  sorts.    Supposed  cases     -  636,  637 

Towering  prerogative  claimed  for  the  Executive         -  -      639 

Position  of  the  Legislature  639,  640 

Summary  of  the  view  taken  in  the  preceding  Nos.  -      640 

Tendency  and  consequence  of  the  new  doctrine  640 — 643 

Axiom,  that  the  Executive  is  the  department  of  power  most  distin 
guished  by  its  propensity  to  war.  Practice  of  free  States  to  disarm 

CONTEXTS    OF    VOL.    I. 


1793.— Continued. 
this  propensity  of  its  influence  ...      643 

Refusal  of  the  Constitution  to  vest  in  the  Executive  the  sole  power  of 
making  peace  -  -  644 

Federalist,  No.  75.    Reflections-  644.64.) 

Assumption  that  the  Proclamation  has  undertaken  to  decide  the  ques 
tion,  whether  there  be  a  cause  of  war,  or  not,  in  the  article  of  guar 
anty  between  U.  S.  and  France,  and  in  so  doing  has  exercised  the 
right  claimed  for  the  Executive  Department.  Application  of  the 
term  "  Government"  to  the  Executive  authority  alone  -  G46,  647 

Nature  of  a  Proclamation  in  its  ordinary  use    -  647 

Unusual  and  unimplied  meaning  ascribed  to  President  Washington's 
Proclamation.  Term  "  neutrality  "  not  in  it.  Legal  and  rational 
grounds  for  it  -  -  648 

Part  of  it  declaring  the  disposition,  &c.,  of  U.  S.  in  relation  to  the 
war  in  Europe  -  648,  649 

It  does  not  require  the  construction  put  on  it  by  Pacificus      -  -      649 

Reasons  why  the  President  cannot  be  supposed  to  have  intended  to 
embrace  and  prejudge  the  legislative  question,  whether  there  was 
or  was  not,  under  the  circumstances  of  the  case,  a  cause  of  war  in 
the  article  of  guaranty  -  -  649 

No  call  from  either  of  the  parties  at  war  wit'h  France,  for  an  expla 
nation  of  the  light  in  which  the  guaranty  was  viewed  649,  650 

An  inadmissible  presumption     -  -  650 

Farther  reasons  against  supposing  that  a  precipitate  and  ex  parte  de 
cision  of  the  guaranty  question  could  have  been  intended  by  the 
Proclamation  -  651—653 

Silence  of  the  Executive  since  the  accession  of  Spain  and  Portugal  to 

the  war  against  France  ...  653,  654 

Proper  sense  of  the  Proclamation         .....      654 





1751.  March  16,  N.  S.    [1750,  March  5,  0.  S.]   Born  in  King  George 

county,  Virginia. 
.  His  early  education,  at  the  school  of  Donald  Robertson,  in  King 

and  Queen  county;  and  afterward  at  home,  under  the  private 

tuition  of  the  Rev.  Thomas  Martin. 

1769.  Becomes  a  student  of  the  College  of  New  Jersey,  at  Princeton. 
1771.  Takes  the  degree  of  Bachelor  of  Arts. 

1775.  Chairman  of  the  Committee  of  Public  Safety  for  the  county  of 


1776.  April.     Chosen  a  member  of  the  new  Virginia  Convention  at 


1777.  November.     Elected  by  the  Legislature,  a  member  of  the  Coun 

cil  of  State. 

1780.  March  4,  to  the  first  Monday  in  November  1783,  a  delegate 
from  Virginia  to  the  Congress  of  the  Confederation. 

1780.  October  17.  His  report  from  a  Committee,  consisting  of  him 
self,  Mr.  Sullivan,  and  Mr.  Duane,  to  prepare  instructions  to 
Dr.  Franklin  and  Mr.  Jay  in  support  of  the  claims  of  the 
United  States  to  Western  territory,  and  the  free  navigation  of 
Mississippi  River. 

1783.  April  26.  From  a  Committee,  consisting  of  himself,  Mr.  Ells 
worth,  and  Mr.  Hamilton,  he  prepares  an  Address  to  the 
States,  urging  the  grant  of  power  to  Congress  to  lay  certain 
duties  for  the  payment  of  the  public  debt;  the  levying  by  the 
States  of  a  revenue  for  paying  the  interest  of  the  debt;  and 
that  the  States  should  make  liberal  cessions  to  the  Union,  of 

their  territorial  claims. 



1784.  Elected  a  member  of  the  Legislature  of  Virginia.     Prepares 

Remonstrance  and  Memorial  in  favor  of  Religious  Liberty. 

1785.  As  Chairman  of  the  Committee  of  Courts  of  Justice,  reports  a 

plan  for  establishing  Courts  of  Assize.  His  labors  in  the  gen 
eral  revisal  of  the  Statute  laws.  Advocates  successfully  the 
enactment  of  a  law  by  Virginia,  to  repress  and  punish  enter 
prises  by  her  citizens  against  nations  with  which  the  United 
States  are  at  peace.  [Filibustering.] 

His  proposition  for  the  execution  of  the  Treaty  of  peace  con 
cerning  British  debts. 

Suggests  a  proposition  for  the  appointment  of  Commissioners  to 
consider  of  the  state  of  trade  in  the  Confederacy. 

1786.  Appointed,  with  six  others,  as  Commissioners  from  Virginia  to  a 

Convention  at  Annapolis. 

Drafts  the  report  of  the  Commissioners  to  the  Legislatures  by 
which  they  had  been  appointed,  recommending  a  second  Con 
vention  of  delegates  to  a  Convention  to  be  held  at  Philadel 
phia  on  the  second  Monday  of  May,  1787,  for  a  general  revi 
sal  of  the  Constitution  of  the  Federal  Government. 

His  effort  for  the  disposal  of  the  Public  Lands,  leading  to  a 
modification  of  the  terms  of  cession,  and  to  the  ordinance  for 
the  Government  of  the  North  Western  territory,  which  was 
afterward  [13th  of  July,  1787]  adopted  by  Congress. 

1787.  One  of  a  Committee  of  five  members  for  revising  the  style  and 

arranging  the  articles  of  the  Constitution  which  had  been 
agreed  to  by  the  Convention  at  Philadelphia,  and  for  prepar 
ing  an  address  to  the  People  of  the  United  States. 

The  leading  advocate  of  the  new  Constitution. 

In  conjunction  with  Alexander  Hamilton  and  John  Jay,  writes 
"The  Federalist."* 

*  Of  the  eighty-five  Numbers  of  the  "Federalist,"  Nos.  1,  6,  7,  8,  9,  11,  12,  13, 
15,  16,  17,  21  to  36,  59,  60,  61,  65  to  85,  were  written  by  Hamilton;  Nos.  10,  14, 
37  to  58,  by  Madison;  Nos.  2,  3,  4,  5,  64,  by  Jay;  and  Nos.  18,  19,  20,  by  Ham 
ilton  and  Madison,  jointly.  In  a  copy*  of  the  Federalist  lent  by  Mr.  Madison  to 
Mr.  Jacob  Gideon,  of  Washington  city,  the  publisher  of  the  edition  of  1818.  is 
the  following  MS.  note,  written  by  Mr.  Madison,  on  the  leaf  commencing  with 
No.  18 : 

"  The  subject  of  this  and  the  two  following  numbers  happened  to  be  taken  up 
"  by  both  Mr.  H.  and  Mr.  M.  What  had  been  prepared  by  Mr.  H.,  who  had  en- 
*  Now  in  the  Washington  Library. 


1789 1797.  A  member  of  the  1st,  2nd,  3rd,  and  4th  Congresses 

under  the  new  Constitution. 

1793.  Writes   "Helvidius,"   in   answer   to   "Pacificus,"    (Alexander 

Hamilton,)  on  President  Washington's  Proclamation  of  Neu 
trality,  April  22,  1793. 

1794.  September  15.     Marries  Mrs.  Dolly  P.  Todd. 

1798.  December  21.     Prepares  Resolutions  of  the  Legislature  of  Vir 

ginia  against  the  Alien  and  Sedition  Laws. 

1799.  Elected  to  the  House  of  Delegates  of  Virginia  from  Orange  County. 
1799 — 1800.     Prepares  other  Resolutions  on  the  same  subject,  and  a 

report  in  reply  to  answers  received  from  other  States. 
1801 — 1809.  Secretary  of  State  during  President  Jefferson's  Adminis 

His  Reports,  diplomatic  letters,  &c.,  &c. 
1806.  His  Examination  of  the  British  doctrine  relating  to  Neutral 

1809 — 1817.  President  of  the  United  States. 

His  messages,  annual  and  special,  &c.,  &c. 
1826.  Rector  of  the  University  of  Virginia. 

1829.  A  delegate  from  the  district  of  Spottsylvania,  Louisa,  Orange, 
and  Madison,  to  the  Convention  of  Virginia  for  revising  the 
Constitution  of  the  Commonwealth. 
1833.     President  of  the  American  Colonization  Society. 

1835.  President  of  the  Washington  National  Monument  Society. 

1836.  June  28.     Dies  at  his  residence,  Montpellier,  Orange  county, 


"  tered  more  briefly  into  the  subject,  was  left  with  Mr.  M.,  on  its  appearing  that 
"  the  latter  was  engaged  in  it,  with  larger  materials,  and  with  a  view  to  a  more 
"  precise  delineation ;  and  from  the  pen  of  the  latter,  the  several  papers  went  to 
*'  ',bo  Praas." 




NASSAU  HALL,  August  16,  1769. 

REV.  SIR, — I  am  not  a  little  affected  at  hearing  of  your  mis 
fortune,  but  cannot  but  hope  the  cure  may  be  so  far  accom 
plished  as  to  render  your  journey  not  inconvenient.  Your  kind 
advice  and  friendly  cautions  are  a  favor  that  shall  be  always 
gratefully  remembered;  and  I  must  beg  leave  to  assure  you  that 
my  happiness,  which  you  and  your  brother  so  ardently  wish  for, 
will  be  greatly  augmented  by  both  your  enjoyments  of  the  like 

I  have  been  as  particular  to  my  father  as  I  thought  necessary 
for  this  time,  as  I  send  him  an  account  of  the  institution,  &c., 
&c.,  and  of  the  college,  wrote  by  Mr.  Blair,  the  gentleman  for 
merly  elected  President  of  this  place.  You  will  likewise  find 
two  pamphlets  entitled  "  Britannia's  Intercession  for  John 
Wilkes,"  &c.,  which,  if  you  have  not  seen  it,  perhaps  may  divert 

I  am  perfectly  pleased  with  my  present  situation;  and  the 
prospect  before  me  of  three  years'  confinement,  however  terrible 
it  may  sound,  has  nothing  in  it,  but  what  will  be  greatly  allevi 
ated  by  the  advantages  I  hope  to  derive  from  it. 

The  near  approach  of  examination  occasions  a  surprising  ap 
plication  to  study  on  all  sides,  and  I  think  it  very  fortunate 

VOL.   I.  1 

2  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1769. 

that  I  entered  college  immediately  after  my  arrival.  Though 
I  believe  there  will  not  be  the  least  danger  of  my  getting  an 
Irish  hint,  as  they  call  it,  yet  it  will  make  my  studies  somewhat 
easier.  I  have  by  that  means  read  over  more  than  half  Horace 
and  made  myself  pretty  well  acquainted  with  prosody,  botli 
which  will  be  almost  neglected  the  two  succeeding  years. 

The  very  large  packet  of  letters  for  Carolina  I  am  afraid  will 
be  incommodious  to  your  brother  on  so  long  a  journey,  to  whom 
I  desire  my  compliments  may  be  presented;  and  conclude  with 
my  earnest  request  for  a  continuance  of  both  your  friendships, 
and  sincere  wishes  for  your  recovery,  and  an  agreeable  journey 
to  your  whole  company. 

I  am,  sir,  your  obliged  friend  and  obedient  servant. 


NASSAU  HALL,  September  30.  17(i9. 

HONORED  SIR, — I  received  your  letter  by  Mr.  Rossekrans, 
and  wrote  an  answer;  but  as  it  is  probable  this  will  arrive 
sooner  which  I  now  write  by  Dr.  Witherspoon,  I  shall  repeat 
some  circumstances  to  avoid  obscurity. 

On  Wednesday  last  we  had  the  usual  commencement.  Eigh 
teen  young  gentlemen  took  their  Bachelor's  degrees,  and  a  con 
siderable  number  their  Master's  degrees.  The  degree  of  Doctor 
of  Laws  was  bestowed  on  Mr.  Dickinson  the  Farmer,  and  Mr. 
Galloway  the  Speaker  of  the  Pennsylvania  Assembly,  a  distin 
guishing  mark  of  honor,  as  there  never  was  any  of  that  kind 
done  before  in  America.  The  commencement  began  at  ten 
o'clock,  when  the  President  walked  first  into  the  church,  a 
board  of  trustees  following,  and  behind  them  those  that  were  to 
take  their  first  degrees.  After  a  short  prayer  by  the  President, 
the  head  oration,  which  is  always  given  to  the  greatest  scholar 
by  the  President  and  Tutors,  was  pronounced  in  Latin  by  Mr. 
Samuel  Smith,  son  of  a  Presbyterian  minister  in  Pennsylvania. 
Then  followed  the  other  orations,  disputes,  and  dialogues,  dis- 

17C9.  LETTERS.  3 

tributed  to  each  according  to  his  merit,  and  last  of  all  was  pro 
nounced  the  valedictory  oration  by  Mr.  John  Henry,  son  of  a 
gentleman  in  Maryland.  This  is  given  to  the  greatest  orator. 
We  had  a  very  great  assembly  of  people,  a  considerable  number 
of  whom  came  from  New  York;  those  at  Philadelphia  were 
most  of  them  detained  by  Races  which  were  to  follow  on  the 
next  day. 

Since  commencement,  the  trustees  have  been  sitting  about 
business  relative  to  the  college,  and  have  chosen  for  tutors  for 
the  ensuing  year,  for  the  junior  class,  Mr.  Houston  from  North 
Carolina,  in  the  room  of  Mr.  Peream;  for  the  freshman  class, 
Mr.  Reeve,  (a  gentleman  who  has  for  several  years  past  kept  a 
school  at  Elizabethtown,)  in  the  room  of  Mr.  Pemberton.  The 
sophomore  tutor,  Mr.  Thomson,  still  retains  his  place,  remark 
able  for  his  skill  in  the  sophomore  studies,  having  taken  care 
of  that  class  for  several  years  past.  Mr.  Halsey  was  chosen 
junior  tutor,  but  refused.  The  trustees  have  likewise  appointed 
Mr.  Caldwell,  a  minister  at  Elizabethtown,  to  take  a  journey 
through  the  Southern  Provinces  as  far  as  Georgia,  to  make  col 
lections  by  which  the  college  fund  may  be  enabled  to  increase 
the-  library,  provide  an  apparatus  of  mathematical  and  philo 
sophical  instruments,  and  likewise  to  support  professors,  which 
would  be  a  great  addition  to  the  advantages  of  this  college. 
Dr.  Witherspoon's  business  to  Virginia  is  nearly  the  same,  as  I 
conjecture,  and  perhaps  to  form  some  acquaintance  to  induce 
gentlemen  to  send  their  sons  to  this  college. 

I  feel  great  satisfaction  from  the  assistance  my  uncle  has  re 
ceived  from  the  springs,  and  I  flatter  myself  from  the  continu 
ance  of  my  mother's  health  that  Dr.  Shore's  skill  will  effectually 
banish  the  cause  of  her  late  indisposition. 

I  recollect  nothing  more  at  present  worth  relating,  but  as 
often  as  opportunity  and  anything  worthy  your  attention  shall 
occur,  be  assured  you  shall  hear  from 

Your  affectionate  son. 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1770. 


NASSAU  HALL,  July  23,  1770. 


We  have  no  public  news  but  the  base  conduct  of  the  mer 
chants  in  New  York  in  breaking  through  their  spirited  resolu 
tions  not  to  import;  a  distinct  account  of  which  I  suppose  will 
be  in  the  Virginia  Gazette  before  this  arrives.  Their  letter  to 
the  merchants  in  Philadelphia  requesting  their  concurrence,  was 
lately  burnt  by  the  students  of  this  place  in  the  college  yard,  all 
of  them  appearing  in  their  black  gowns,  and  the  bell  tolling. 

The  number  of  students  has  increased  very  much  of  late; 
there  are  about  an  hundred  and  fifteen  in  college,  and  in  the 
grammar  school  twenty-two  commence  this  fall,  all  of  them  in 
American  cloth. 

With  my  love  to  all  the  family,  I  am,  honored  sir,  your 
affectionate  son. 


PRINCETON,  October  9,  1771. 

HONORED  SIR, — In  obedience  to  your  requests  I  hereby  send 
you  an  answer  to  yours  of  the  25th  of  September,  which  I 
received  this  morning.  My  letter  by  Dr.  Witherspoon,  who 
left  this  place  yesterday  week,  contains  most  of  what  you  desire 
to  be  informed  of.  I  should  be  glad  if  your  health  and  other 
circumstances  should  enable  you  to  visit  him  during  his  stay  in 
Virginia.  I  am  persuaded  you  would  be  much  pleased  with 
him,  and  that  he  would  be  very  glad  to  see  you. 

I  was  so  particular  in  my  last  with  regard  to  my  determina 
tion  about  staying  in  Princeton  this  winter  coming,  that  I  need 
say  nothing  more  in  this  place,  my  sentiments  being  still  the 

I  am  sorry  Mr.  Chew's  mode  of  conveyance  will  not  answer 
in  Virginia.  I  expect  to  hear  from  him  in  a  few  days,  by  return 

!772.  LETTERS.  5 

of  a  man  belonging  to  this  Town  from  New  London,  and  shall 
then  acquaint  him  with  it  and  get  it  remedied  by  the  methods 
you  propose. 

Mr.  James  Martin  was  here  at  commencement,  and  had  an 
opportunity  of  hearing  from  his  brothers  and  friends  in  Caro 
lina  by  a  young  man  lately  come  from  thence  to  this  college; 
however,  I  shall  follow  your  directions  in  writing  to  him  imme 
diately,  and  visiting  him  as  soon  as  I  find  it  convenient. 

I  am,  Dr  sir,  your  affectionate  son. 


(At  the  Coffee-Rouse,  Philadelphia,— By  the  post.) 

ORANGE,  VIRGINIA,  November  9,  1772. 

MY  DEAR  B., — You  moralize  so  prettily,  that  if  I  were  to 
judge  from  some  parts  of  your  letter  of  October  13,  I  should 
take  you  for  an  old  philosopher  that  had  experienced  the  emp 
tiness  of  earthly  happiness;  and  I  am  very  glad  that  you  have 
so  .early  seen  through  the  romantic  paintings  with  which  the 
world  is  sometimes  set  off  by  the  sprightly  imaginations  of  the 
ingenious.  You  have  happily  supplied,  by  reading  and  obser 
vation,  the  want  of  experiment;  and  therefore  I  hope  you  are 
sufficiently  guarded  against  the  allurements  and  vanities  that 
beset  us  on  our  first  entrance  on  the  theatre  of  life.  Yet,  how 
ever  nice  and  cautious  we  may  be  in  detecting  the  follies  of 
mankind,  and  framing  our  economy  according  to  the  precepts 
of  Wisdom  and  Religion,  I  fancy  there  will  commonly  remain 
with  us  some  latent  expectation  of  obtaining  more  than  ordi 
nary  happiness  and  prosperity  till  we  feel  the  convincing  argu 
ment  of  actual  disappointment.  Though  I  will  not  determine 
whether  we  shall  be  much  the  worse  for  it  if  we  do  not  allow  it 
to  intercept  our  views  towards  a  future  state,  because  strong- 
desires  and  great  hopes  instigate  us  to  arduous  enterprizes, 
fortitude,  and  perseverance.  Nevertheless,  a  watchful  eye  must 
be  kept  on  ourselves,  lest  while  we  are  building  ideal  rnonu- 

(5  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1772. 

menta  of  renown  and  bliss  here,  we  neglect  to  have  our  names 
enrolled  in  the  annals  of  Heaven.  These  thoughts  come  into 
my  mind  because  I  am  writing  to  you,  and  thinking  of  you. 
As  to  myself,  I  am  too  dull  and  infirm  now  to  look  out  for  any 
extraordinary  things  in  this  world,  for  I  think  my  sensations 
for  many  months  past  have  intimated  to  me  not  to  expect  a 
long  or  healthy  life;  though  it  may  be  better  with  me  after 
some  time,  [but]  I  hardly  dare  expect  it,  and  therefore  have 
little  spirit  and  alacrity  to  set  about  anything  that  is  difficult 
in  acquiring  and  useless  in  possessing  after  one  has  exchanged 
time  for  eternity.  But  you  have  health,  youth,  fire,  and  genius, 
to  bear  you  along  through  the  high  track  of  public  life,  and  so 
may  be  more  interested  and  delighted  in  improving  on  hints 
that  respect  the  temporal  though  momentous  concerns  of  man. 

I  think  you  made  a  judicious  choice  of  History  and  the  science 
of  morals  for  your  winter's  study.  They  seem  to  be  of  the 
most  universal  benefit  to  men  of  sense  and  taste  in  every  post, 
and  must  certainly  be  of  great  use  to  youth  in  settling  the 
principles  and  refining  the  judgment,  as  well  as  in  enlarging 
knowledge  and  correcting  the  imagination.  I  doubt  not  but 
you  design  to  season  them  with  a  little  divinity  now  and  then, 
which,  like  the  philosopher's  stone,  in  the  hands  of  a  good  man, 
will  turn  them  and  every  lawful  acquirement  into  the  nature  of 
itself,  and  make  them  more  precious  than  fine  gold. 

As  you  seem  to  require  that  I  should  be  open  and  unreserved, 
(which  is  indeed  the  only  proof  of  true  friendship.)  I  will 
venture  to  give  you  a  word  of  advice,  though  it  be  more  to 
convince  you  of  my  affection  for  you  than  from  any  apprehen 
sion  of  your  needing  it.  Pray  do  not  suffer  those  impertinent 
fops  that  abound  in  every  city  to  divert  you  from  your  business 
and  philosophical  amusements.  You  may  please  them  more  by 
admitting  them  to  the  enjoyment  of  your  company,  but  you 
will  make  them  respect  and  admire  you  more  by  showing  your 
indignation  at  their  follies,  and  by  keeping  them  at  a  becoming 
distance.  I  am  luckily  out  of  the  way  of  such  troubles,  but  I 
know  you  are  surrounded  with  them;  for  they  breed  in  towns 
and  populous  places  as  naturally  as  flies  do  in  the  shambles, 

1773.  LETTERS.  7 

because  there  they  get  food  enough  for  their  vanity  and  imper 

I  have  undertaken  to  instruct  my  brothers  and  sisters  ip- 
some  of  the  first  rudiments  of  literature;  but  it  does  not  take 
up  so  much  of  my  time  but  I  shall  always  have  leisure  to 
receive  and  answer  your  letters,  which  are  very  grateful  to  me, 
I  assure  you:  and  for  reading  any  performances  you  may  be 
kind  enough  to  send  me,  whether  of  Mr.  Freneau  or  anybody 
else.  I  think  myself  happy  in  your  correspondence,  and  desire 
you  will  continue  to  write  as  often  as  you  can,  as  you  see  I 
intend  to  do  by  the  early  and  long  answer  I  send  you.  You 
are  the  only  valuable  friend  I  have  settled  in  so  public  a  place, 
and  I  must  rely  on  you  for  an  account  of  all  literary  transac 
tions  in  your  part  of  the  world. 

I  am  not  sorry  to  hear  of  Livingston's  getting  a  degree.  I 
heartily  wish  him  well,  though  many  would  think  I  had  but 
little  reason  to  do  so;  and  ?f  he  would  be  sensible  of  his  oppor 
tunities  and  encouragements,  I  think  he  might  still  recover. 
Lucky  (?)  and  his  company,  after  their  feeble  yet  wicked  assault 
upon  Mr.  Erwin,  in  my  opinion,  will  disgrace  the  catalogue  of 
names  ;  but  they  are  below  contempt,  and  I  spend  no  more 
words  about  them. 

And  now,  my  friend,  I  must  take  my  leave  of  you,  but  with 
such  hopes  that  it  will  not  be  long  before  I  receive  another 
epistle  from  you,  as  make  me  more  cheerfully  conclude  and 
subscribe  myself 

Your  sincere  and  affectionate  friend. 

Your  direction  was  right;  however,  the  addition  of  "  Jr."  to 
my  name  would  not  be  improper. 


ORANGE  COUNTY,  VIRGINIA,  April  28,  1773. 

DEAR  B., — I  received  your  letter  dated  March  the  1st  about 
a  week  ago ;  and  it  is  not  more  to  obey  your  demands  than  to 

g  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1773: 

fulfil  my  own  desires  that  I  give  you  this  early  answer.  I  am 
glad  you  disclaim  all  punctiliousness  in  our  correspondence. 
For  my  own  part  I  confess  I  have  not  the  face  to  perform  cere 
mony  in  person,  and  I  equally  detest  it  on  paper;  though  as 
Tully  says,  It  cannot  blush.  Friendship,  like  all  truth,  delights 
in  plainness  and  simplicity,  and  it  is  the  counterfeit  alone  that 
needs  ornament  and  ostentation.  I  am  so  thoroughly  persuaded 
of  this,  that  when  I  observe  any  one  over  complaisant  to  me  in 
his  professions  and  promises,  I  am  tempted  to  interpret  his 
language  thus:  "  As  I  have  no  real  esteem  for  you,  and  for  cer 
tain  reasons  think  it  expedient  to  appear  well  in  your  eye,  I 
endeavor  to  varnish  falsehood  with  politeness,  which  I  think  I 
can  do  in  so  ingenious  a  manner  that  so  vain  a  blockhead  as 
you  cannot  see  through  it." 

I  would  have  you  write  to  me  when  you  feel  as  you  used  to 
do,  when  we  were  under  the  same  roof,  and  you  found  it  a 
recreation  and  release  from  businc-ss  and  books  to  come  and 
chat  an  hour  or  two  with  me.  The  case  is  such  with  me  that  I 
am  too  remote  from  the  post  to  have  the  same  choice,  but  it 
seldom  happens  that  an  opportunity  catches  me  out  of  a  humor 
of  writing  to  my  old  Nassovian  friends,  and  you  know  what 
place  you  hold  among  them. 

I  have  not  seen  a  single  piece  against  the  Doctor's  address. 
I  saw  a  piece  advertised  for  publication  in  the  Philadelphia 
Gazette,  entitled  "  Candid  remarks,"  &c.,  and  that  is  all  I  know 
about  it.  These  things  seldom  reach  Virginia,  and  when  they 
do,  I  am  out  of  the  way  of  them.  I  have  a  curiosity  to  read 
those  authors  who  write  with  "  all  the  rage  of  impotence/'7  not 
because  there  is  any  excellence  or  wit  in  their  writings,  but 
because  they  implicitly  proclaim  the  merit  of  those  they  are  rail 
ing  against,  and  give  them  an  occasion  of  shewing  by  their 
silence  and  contempt  that  they  are  invulnerable.  I  am  heartily 
obliged  to  you  for  your  kind  offer  of  sending  me  some  of  these 
performances.  I  should  also  willingly  accept  Freneau's  works, 
and  the  "  Sermons  to  Doctors  in  Divinity,"  which  I  hear  are 
published,  and  whatever  else  you  reckon  worth  reading.  Please 
to  note  the  cost  of  the  articles,  for  I  will  by  no  means  suffer  our 

1773.  LETTERS.  9 

acquaintance  to  be  an  expense  on  your  part  alone,  and  I  have 
nothing  fit  to  send  you  to  make  it  reciprocal.  In  your  next 
letter  be  more  particular  as  to  yourself,  your  intentions,  present 
employments,  &c.,  Erwin,  McPherson,  &c.,  the  affairs  of  the 
college.  Is  the  lottery  like  to  come  to  anything  ?  There  has 
happened  no  change  in  my  purposes  since  you  heard  from  me 
last.  My  health  is  a  little  better,  owing,  I  believe,  to  more 
activity  and  less  study,  recommended  by  physicians.  I  shall 
try,  if  possible,  to  devise  some  business  that  will  afford  me  a 
sight  of  you  once  more  in  Philadelphia  within  a  year  or  two. 
I  wish  you  would  resolve  the  same  with  respect  to  me  in  Vir 
ginia,  though  within  a  shorter  time.  I  am  sorry  my  situation 
affords  me  nothing  new,  curious,  or  entertaining,  to  pay  you  for 
your  agreeable  information  and  remarks.  You,  being  at  the 
fountain  head  of  political  and  literary  intelligence,  and  I  in  an 
obscure  corner,  you  must  expect  to  be  greatly  loser  on  that 
score  by  our  correspondence.  But  as  you  have  entered  upon  it, 
I  am  determined  to  hold  you  to  it,  and  shall  give  you  some  very 
severe  admonitions  whenever  I  perceive  a  remissness  or  brevity 
in  your  letters.  I  do  not  intend  this  as  a  beginning  of  reproof, 
but  .as  a  caution  to  you  never  to  make  it  necessary  at  all. 

If  Mr.  Horton  is  in  Philadelphia,  give  him  my  best  thanks  for 
his  kindness  in  assisting  Mr.  Wallace  to  do  some  business  for 
[ ?]  not  long  ago. 

I  must  re-echo  your  pressing  invitations  to  [ ?] 

do  with  the  more  confidence  as  I  have  complied. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  yours,  most  unfeignedly. 


ORANGE  COUNTY,  VIRGINIA,  6th  Sept.,  1773. 

DEAR  SIR, — If  I  did  not  love  you  too  well  to  scold  at  you,  I 
should  begin  this  with  upbraiding  your  silence,  contrary  to 

10  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1774. 

your  express  promise  and  my  earnest  solicitations.  The  bundle 
of  pamphlets  you  sent  by  the  post  has  miscarried,  or  I  would 
not  trouble  you  with  sending  them  again;  but  perhaps  if  you 
would  inquire  of  the  posts,  they  might  still  be  discovered. 

I  expect  this  will  be  handed  to  you  by  Mr.  Erwin,  who  has 
been  kind  enough  to  extend  his  journey  this  far,  whose  praise 
is  in  every  man's  mouth  here  for  an  excellent  discourse  he  this 
day  preached  for  us.  He  will  let  you  know  everything  that 
occurs  to  me  worth  mentioning  at  commencement,  or  Philadel 
phia,  if  you  should  not  attend  the  commencement.  Gratitude 
to  him,  and  friendship  to  yourself  and  others,  with  some  busi 
ness,  perhaps,  will  induce  me  to  visit  Philadelphia  or  Princeton 
in  the  spring,  if  I  should  be  alive,  and  should  have  health 

I  set  too  high  a  value  on  Mr.  Erwin's  company  to  write 
much  to  you  now,  and  besides  have  the  like  office  of  friendship 
to  several  other  friends. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  yours  most  affectionately. 


January  the  24th,  1774. 

MY  WORTHY  FRIEND, — Yours  of  the  25th  of  last  month  came 
into  my  hands  a  few  days  past.  It  gave  singular  pleasure,  not 
only  because  of  the  kindness  expressed  in  it,  but  because  I  had 
reason  to  apprehend  the  letter  you  received  last  from  me  had 
miscarried,  and  I  should  fail  in  procuring  the  intelligence  I 
wanted  before  the  trip  I  designed  in  the  spring. 

I  congratulate  you  on  your  heroic  proceedings  in  Philadel 
phia  with  regard  to  the  tea.  I  wish  Boston  may  conduct 
matters  with  as  much  discretion  as  they  seem  to  do  with  bold 
ness.  They  seem  to  have  great  trials  and  difficulties  by  reason 
of  the  obduracy  and  ministerialism  of  their  G-overnor.  How- 

1774.  LETTERS.  11 

ever,  political  contests  are  necessary  sometimes,  as  well  as 
military,  to  afford  exercise  and  practice,  and  to  instruct  in  the 
art  of  defending  liberty  and  property.  I  verily  believe  the 
frequent  assaults  that  have  been  made  on  America  (Boston 
especially)  will  in  the  end  prove  of  real  advantage. 

If  the  Church  of  England  had  been  the  established  and 
general  religion  in  all  the  northern  colonies  as  it  has  been 
among  us  here,  and  uninterrupted  tranquillity  had  prevailed 
throughout  the  continent,  it  is  clear  to  me  that  slavery  and 
subjection  might  and  would  have  been  gradually  insinuated 
among  us.  Union  of  religious  sentiments  begets  a  surprising 
confidence,  and  ecclesiastical  establishments  tend  to  great  igno 
rance  and  corruption;  all  of  which  facilitate  the  execution  of 
mischievous  projects. 

But  away  with  politics !  Let  me  address  you  as  a  student 
and  philosopher,  and  not  as  a  patriot,  now.  I  am  pleased  that 
you  are  going  to  converse  with  the  Edwards  and  Henrys  and 
Charleses,  &c.,  &c.,  who  have  swayed  the  British  sceptre,  though 
I  believe  you  will  find  some  of  them  dirty  and  unprofitable 
companions,  unless  you  will  glean  instruction  from  their  follies, 
and  fall  more  in  love  with  liberty  by  beholding  such  detestable 
pictures  of  tyranny  and  cruelty. 

I  was  afraid  you  would  not  easily  have  loosened  your  affec 
tions  from  the  belles  lettres.  A  delicate  taste  and  warm  imagi 
nation  like  yours  must  find  it  hard  to  give  up  such  refined  and 
exquisite  enjoyments  for  the  coarse  and  dry  study  of  the  law. 
It  is  like  leaving  a  pleasant  flourishing  field  for  a  barren  desert ; 
perhaps  I  should  not  say  barren  either,  because  the  law  does 
bear  fruit,  but  it  is  sour  fruit,  that  must  be  gathered  and 
pressed  and  distilled  before  it  can  bring  pleasure  or  profit.  I 
perceive  I  have  made  a  very  awkward  comparison;  but  I  got 
the  thought  by  the  end,  and  had  gone  too  far  to  quit  it  before  I 
perceived  that  it  was  too  much  entangled  in  my  brain  to  run  it 
through;  and  so  you  must  forgive  it.  I  myself  used  to  have 
too  great  a  hankering  after  those  amusing  studies.  Poetry, 
wit,  and  criticism,  romances,  plays,  <fcc.,  captivated  me  much; 
but  I  began  to  discover  that  they  deserve  but  a  small  portion 

12  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1774. 

of  a  mortal's  time,  and  that  something  more  substantial,  more 
durable,  and  more  profitable,  befits  a  riper  age.  It  would  be 
exceedingly  improper  for  a  laboring  man  to  have  nothing  but 
flowers  in  his  garden,  or  to  determine  to  eat  nothing  but  sweet 
meats  and  confections.  Equally  absurd  would  it  be  for  a 
scholar  and  a  man  of  business  to  make  up  his  whole  library 
with  books  of  fancy,  and  feed  his  mind  with  nothing  but  such 
luscious  performances. 

When  you  have  an  opportunity  and  write  to  Mr.  Bracken- 
ridge,  pray  tell  him  I  often  think  of  him,  and  long  to  see  him, 
and  am  resolved  to  do  so  in  the  spring.  George  Luckey  was 
with  me  at  Christmas,  and  we  talked  so  much  about  old  affairs 
and  old  friends,  that  I  have  a  most  insatiable  desire  to  sec  you 
all.  Luckey  will  accompany  me,  and  we  are  to  set  off  on  the 
10th  of  April,  if  no  disaster  befalls  either  of  us. 

I  want  again  to  breathe  your  free  air.  I  expect  it  will  mend 
my  constitution  and  confirm  my  principles.  I  have  indeed  as 
good  an  atmosphere  at  home  as  the  climate  will  allow;  but  have 
nothing  to  brag  of  as  to  the  state  and  liberty  of  my  country. 
Poverty  and  luxury  prevail  among  all  sorts;  pride,  ignorance, 
and  knavery  among  the  priesthood,  and  vice  and  wickedness 
among  the  laity.  This  is  bad  enough,  but  it  is  not  the  worst  I 
have  to  tell  you.  That  diabolical,  hell-conceived  principle  of 
persecution  rages  among  some;  and  to  their  eternal  infamy,  the 
clergy  can  furnish  their  quota  of  imps  for  such  business.  This 
vexes  me  the  worst  of  anything  whatever.  There  are  at  this 
time  in  the  adjacent  country  not  less  than  five  or  six  well- 
nieaning  men  in  close  jail  for  publishing  their  religious  senti 
ments,  which  in  the  main  are  very  orthodox.  I  have  neither 
patience  to  hear,  talk,  or  think  of  anything  relative  to  this 
matter;  for  I  have  squabbled  and  scolded,  abused  and  ridiculed, 
so  long  about  it  to  little  purpose,  that  I  am  without  common 
patience.  So  I  must  beg  you  to  pity  me,  and  pray  for  liberty 
of  conscience  to  all. 

I  expect  to  hear  from  you  once  more  before  I  see  you,  if  time 
will  admit;  and  want  to  know  when  the  synod  meets,  and 
where;  what  the  exchange  is  at,  and  as  much  about  my  friends 

1774.  LETTERS.  13 

and  other  matters  as  you  can  [tell,]  and  think  worthy  of  notice 
Till  I  see  you, 

Adieu ! 

N.  B.  Our  correspondence  is  too  far  advanced  to  require 
apology  for  bad  writing  and  blots. 

Your  letter  to  Mr.  Wallace  is  yet  in  my  hands,  and  shall  be 
forwarded  to  you  as  soon  as  possible.  I  hear  nothing  from  him 
by  letter  or  fame. 


VIRGINIA,  ORANGE  COUNTY,  April  1,  1774. 

MY  WORTHY  FRIEND, — I  have  another  favor  to  acknowledge 
in  the  receipt  of  your  kind  letter  of  March  the  4th.  I  did  not 
intend  to  have  written  again  to  you  before  I  obtained  a  nearer 
communication  with  you;  but  you  have  too  much  interest  in  my 
inclinations  ever  to  be  denied  a  request. 

Mr.  Brackenridge's  illness  gives  me  great  uneasiness;  I  think 
he  would  be  a  loss  to  America.  His  merit  is  rated  so  high  by 
me  that  I  confess,  if  he  were  gone,  I  could  almost  say  with  the 
poet,  that  his  country  could  furnish  such  a  pomp  for  death  no 
more.  But  I  solace  myself  from  Finley's  ludicrous  descriptions 
as  you  do. 

Our  Assembly  is  to  meet  the  first  of  May,  when  it  is  expected 
something  will  be  done  in  behalf  of  the  dissenters.  Petitions, 
I  hear,  are  already  forming  among  the  persecuted  Baptists,  and 
I  fancy  it  is  in  the  thoughts  of  the  Presbyterians  also,  to  inter 
cede  for  greater  liberty  in  matters  of  religion.  For  my  own 
part,  I  cannot  help  being  very  doubtful  of  their  succeeding  in  the 
attempt.  The  affair  was  on  the  carpet  during  the  last  session; 
but  such  incredible  and  extravagant  stories  were  told  in  the 
House  of  the  monstrous  effects  of  the  enthusiasm  prevalent 
among  the  sectaries,  and  so  greedily  swallowed  by  their  en^- 

14  WORKS  orniADisoN.  17T4 

mies,  that  I  believe  they  lost  footing  by  it.  And  the  bad  name 
they  still  have  with  those  who  pretend^  too  much  contempt  to 
examine  into  their  principles  and  conduct,  and  are  too  much 
devoted  to  the  ecclesiastical  establishment  to  hear  of  the  tolera 
tion  of  dissentients,  I  am  apprehensive,  will  be  again  made  a 
pretext  for  rejecting  their  requests. 

The  sentiments  of  our  people  of  fortune  and  fashion  on  this 
subject  are  vastly  different  from  what  you  have  been  used  to. 
That  liberal,  catholic,  and  equitable  way  of  thinking,  as  to  the 
rights  of  conscience,  which  is  one  of  the  characteristics  of  a  free 
people,  and  so  strongly  marks  the  people  of  your  province,  is 
but  little  known  among  the  zealous  adherents  to  our  hierarchy. 
We  have,  it  is  true,  some  persons  in  the  Legislature  of  generous 
principles  both  in  Religion  and  Politics;  but  number,  not  merit, 
you  know,  is  necessary  to  carry  points  there.  Besides,  the 
clergy  are  a  numerous  and  powerful  body,  have  great  influence 
at  home  by  reason  of  their  connection  with  and  dependence  on 
the  Bishops  and  Crown,  and  will  naturally  employ  all  their  art 
and  interest  to  depress  their  rising  adversaries;  for  such  they 
must  consider  dissenters  who  rob  them  of  the  good  will  of  the 
people,  and  may,  in  time,  endanger  their  livings  and  security. 

You  are  happy  in  dwelling  in  a  land  where  those  inestimable 
privileges  are  fully  enjoyed;  and  the  public  has  long  felt  the 
good  effects  of  this  religious  as  well  as  civil  liberty.  Foreign 
ers  have  been  encouraged  to  settle  among  you.  Industry  and 
virtue  have  been  promoted  by  mutual  emulation  and  mutual 
inspection;  commerce  and  the  arts  have  flourished;  and  I  can 
not  help  attributing  those  continual  exertions  of  genius  which 
appear  among  you  to  the  inspiration  of  liberty,  and  that  love 
of  fame  and  knowledge  which  always  accompany  it.  Religious 
bondage  shackles  and  debilitates  the  mind,  and  unfits  it  for 
every  noble  enterprise,  every  expanded  prospect.  How  far 
this  is  the  case  with  Virginia  will  more  clearly  appear  when 
the  ensuing  trial  is  made. 

I  am  making  all  haste  in  preparing  for  my  journey.  It  ap 
pears  as  if  it  would  be  the  first  of  May  before  I  can  start,  which 
I  can  more  patiently  bear,  because  I  may  possibly  get  no  com- 

1774.  LETTERS.  15 

pany  before  that  time;  and  it  will  answer  so  exactly  with  the 
meeting  of  the  synod.  George  Luckey  talks  of  joining  me  if  I 
can  wait  till  then.  I  am  resolutely  determined  to  come  if  it  is 
in  my  power.  If  anything  hinders  me,  it  will  be  most  likely 
the  indisposition  of  my  mother,  who  is  in  a  very  low  state  of 
health;  and  if  she  should  grow  worse,  I  am  afraid  she  will  be 
more  unwilling  to  part  with  my  brother,  as  she  will  be  less  able 
to  bear  a  separation.  If  it  should  unfortunately  happen  that  I 
should  be  forced  off  or  give  out  coming,  Luckey  on  his  return 
to  Virginia  will  bring  me  whatever  publications  you  think 
worth  sending,  and  among  others  [Caspapini's?]  letters. 

But  whether  I  come  or  not,  be  assured  I  retain  the  most  ar 
dent  affection  and  esteem  for  you,  and  the  most  cordial  grati 
tude  for  your  many  generous  kindnesses.  It  gives  me  real 
pleasure  when  I  write  to  you  that  I  can  talk  in  this  language 
without  the  least  affectation,  and  without  the  suspicion  of  it, 
and  that  if  I  should  omit  expressing  my  love  for  you,  your 
friendship  can  supply  the  omission;  or  if  I  make  use  of  the  most 
extravagant  expressions  of  it,  your  corresponding  affection  can 
believe  them  to  be  sincere.  This  is  a  satisfaction  and  delight 
unknown  to  all  who  correspond  for  business  and  conveniency, 
but  richly  enjoyed  by  all  who  make  pleasure  and  improvement 
the  business  of  their  communications. 


J.  M. 

P.  S.  You  need  no  longer  direct  to  the  care  of  Mr.  Maury. 


July  1,  1774. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  once  more  got  into  my  native  land,  and  into 
the  possession  of  my  customary  employments,  solitude  and  con 
templation;  though  I  must  confess  not  a  little  disturbed  by  the 

16  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1774. 

sound  of  war,  blood,  and  plunder,  on  the  one  hand,  and  the 
threats  of  slavery  and  oppression  on  the  other.  From  the  best 
accounts  I  can  obtain  from  our  frontiers,  the  savages  are  deter 
mined  on  the  extirpation  of  the  inhabitants,  and  no  longer  leave 
them  the  alternative  of  death  or  captivity.  The  consternation 
and  timidity  of  the  white  people,  who  abandon  their  possessions 
without  making  the  least  resistance,  are  as  difficult  to  be  ac 
counted  for  as  they  are  encouraging  to  the  enemy.  Whether  it 
be  owing  to  the  unusual  cruelty  of  the  Indians,  the  want  of 
necessary  implements  or  ammunition  for  war,  or  to  the  igno 
rance  and  inexperience  of  many  who,  since  the  establishment  of 
peace,  have  ventured  into  those  new  settlements,  I  can  neither 
learn,  nor  with  any  certainty  conjecture.  However,  it  is  confi 
dently  asserted  that  there  is  not  an  inhabitant  for  some  hundreds 
of  miles  back  which  have  been  settled  for  many  years  except 
those  who  are  [forted  ?]  in  or  embodied  by  their  military  com 
manders.  The  state  of  things  has  induced  Lord  Dunmore. 
contrary  to  his  intentions  at  the  dissolution  of  the  Assembly,  to 
issue  writs  for  a  new  election  of  members,  whom  he  is  to  call 
together  on  the  llth  of  August. 

As  to  the  sentiments  of  the  people  of  this  Colony  with  respect 
to  the  Bostonians,  I  can  assure  you  I  find  them  very  warm  in 
their  favor.  The  natives  are  very  numerous  and  resolute,  are 
making  resolves  in  almost  every  county,  and  I  believe  arc  will 
ing  to  fall  in  with  the  other  Colonies  in  any  expedient  measure, 
even  if  that  should  be  the  universal  prohibition  of  trade.  It 
must  not  be  denied,  though,  that  the  Europeans,  especially  the 
Scotch,  and  some  interested  merchants  among  the  natives,  dis 
countenance  such  proceedings  as  far  as  they  dare ;  alledging  the 
injustice  and  perfidy  of  refusing  to  pay  our  debts  to  our  gener 
ous  creditors  at  home.  This  consideration  induces  some  honest, 
moderate  folks  to  prefer  a  partial  prohibition,  extending  only 
to  the  importation  of  goods. 

We  have  a  report  here  that  Governor  Gage  has  sent  Lord 
Dunmore  some  letters  relating  to  public  matters  in  which  he 
says  he  has  strong  hopes  that  he  shall  be  able  to  bring  things 
at  Boston  to  an  amicable  settlement.  I  suppose  you  know 

1774.  LETTERS.  17 

whether  there  be  any  truth  in  the  report,  or  any  just  foundation 
for  such  an  opinion  in  Gage. 

It  has  been  said  here  by  some,  that  the  appointed  fast  was 
disregarded  by  every  Scotch  clergyman,  though  it  was  observed 
by  most  of  the  others  who  had  timely  notice  of  it.  I  cannot 
avouch  it  for  an  absolute  certainty,  but  it  appears  no  ways 

I  was  so  lucky  as  to  find  Dean  Tucker's  tracts  on  my  return 
home,  sent  by  mistake  with  some  other  books  imported  this 
spring.  I  have  read  them  with  peculiar  satisfaction  and  illumi 
nation  with  respect  to  the  interests  of  America  and  Britain. 
At  the  same  time  his  ingenious  and  plausible  defence  of  par 
liamentary  authority  carries  in  it  such  defects  and  misrepresent 
ations,  as  confirm  me  in  political  orthodoxy — after  the  same 
manner  as  the  specious  arguments  of  Infidels  have  established 
the  faith  of  inquiring  Christians. 

I  am  impatient  to  hear  from  you;  and  do  now  certainly  [earn 
estly?]  renew  the  stipulation  for  that  friendly  correspondence 
which  alone  can  comfort  me  in  the  privation  of  your  company. 
I  shall  be  punctual  in  transmitting  you  an  account  of  every 
thing  that  can  be  acceptable,  but  must  freely  absolve  you  from 
as  strict  an  obligation,  which  your  application  to  more  import 
ant  business  will  not  allow,  and  which  my  regard  for  your  ease 
and  interests  will  not  suffer  me  to  enjoin. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  your  faithful  friend, 


VIRGINIA,  ORANGE  COUNTY,  January  20,  1775. 

MY  WORTHY  FRIEND, — Your  very  acceptable  favors  by  Mr. 
Rutherford  arrived  safe,  but  I  perceived  by  the  date  had  a 
very  tedious  passage,  which  perhaps  may  be  attributed  to  the 
craziness  of  the  vessel  in  which  you  embarked  them.  I  ought 

VOL.  i.  2 

13  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1775. 

to  mention,  in  particular,  that  I  did  not  receive  them  till  after 
I  wrote  my  last,  as  an  apology  for  my  not  then  acknowledg 
ing  it. 

I  entirely  acquiesce  in  your  opinion  of  our  friend  Bracken- 
ridge's  talents,  and  think  his  poem  an  indubitable  proof  of  what 
you  say  on  that  head.  It  certainly  has  many  real  beauties  in 
it,  and  several  strokes  of  a  strong  original  genius;  but  at  the 
same  time,  as  you  observe,  some  very  obvious  defects,  which  I 
am  afraid,  too,  are  more  discernible  to  common  readers  than  its 
excellencies.  If  this  be  the  case,  I  am  apprehensive  it  will  not 
answer  the  end  proposed,  which,  as  I  collect  from  his  letter  to 
me,  was  to  raise  the  character  of  his  academy  by  the  fame  of 
its  teacher.  It  is  on  this  account,  he  says,  he  desires  it  might 
have  a  pretty  general  reading  in  this  Government.  For  my 
own  part,  I  could  heartily  wish,  for  the  honor  of  the  author  and 
the  success  of  the  performance,  that  it  might  fall  into  the  hands 
only  of  the  impartial  and  judicious.  I  have  shewn  it  to  some 
of  our  middling  sort  of  folks,  and  I  am  persuaded  it  will  be  not 
much  relished  by  that  class  of  my  countrymen.  The  subject  is 
itself  frightful;  blank  verse,  in  some  measure  unintelligible,  at 
least  requires  stricter  attention  than  most  people  will  bestow; 
and  the  antiquated  phraseology,  however  eligible  in  itself,  dis 
gusts  such  as  affect  modern  fashion.  In  short,  the  theme  is  not 
interesting  enough,  nor  the  dress  sufficiently  a  la  mode  to  attract 
the  notice  of  the  generality.  The  same  merit  in  a  political 
or  humorous  composition  would  have  rung  the  author's  fame 
through  every  Province  on  the  continent.  Something  of  this 
kind  I  am  encouraged  to  expect  soon  from  a  passage  of  his  let 
ter  in  which  he  mentions  a  design  of  finishing  a  poem  then  in 
hand,  on  the  present  times;  and  from  the  description  he  gives 
of  it,  (if  it  be  not  too  local,)  I  doubt  not  will  meet  with  the 
public's  applause.  He  informed  me  it  would  be  ready  for  the 
press  in  three  months  from  the  time  he  wrote.  If  so,  you  must 
have  seen  it  by  this  time. 

We  are  very  busy  at  present  in  raising  men  and  procuring 
the  necessaries  for  defending  ourselves  and  our  friends  in  case 
of  a  sudden  invasion.  The  extensiveness  of  the  demands  of  the 

1775.  LETTERS.  1$ 

Congress,  and  the  pride  of  the  British  nation,  together  with  the 
wickedness  of  the  present  ministry,  seem,  in  the  judgment  of  our 
politicians,  to  require  a  preparation  for  extreme  events.  There 
will,  by  the  Spring  I  expect,  be  some  thousands  of  well-trained, 
high-spirited  men  ready  to  meet  danger  whenever  it  appears, 
who  are  influenced  by  no  mercenary  principles,  but  bearing 
their  own  expenses,  and  having  the  prospect  of  no  recompense 
but  the  honor  and  safety  of  their  country. 

I  suppose  the  inhabitants  of  your  Province  are  more  reserved 
in  their  behavior,  if  not  more  easy  in  their  apprehension,  from 
the  prevalence  of  Quaker  principles  and  politics.  The  Quakers 
are  the  only  people  with  us  who  refuse  to  accede  to  the  Conti 
nental  association.  I  cannot  forbear  suspecting  them  to  be 
under  the  control  and  direction  of  the  leaders  of  the  party  in 
your  quarter;  for  I  take  those  of  them  that  we  have  to  be  too 
honest  and  simple  to  have  any  sinister  or  secret  views,  and  I 
do  not  observe  anything  in  the  association  inconsistent  with 
their  religious  principles.  When  I  say  they  refuse  to  accede  to 
the  association,  my  meaning  is  that  they  refuse  to  sign  it;  that 
being  the  method  used  among  us  to  distinguish  friends  from 
foes,  and  to  oblige  the  common  people  to  a  more  strict  observ 
ance  of  it.  I  have  never  heard  whether  the  like  method  has 
been  adopted  in  the  other  Governments. 

I  have  not  seen  the  following  in  print,  and  it  seems  to  be  so 
just  a  specimen  of  Indian  eloquence  and  mistaken  valor,  that  I 
think  you  will  be  pleased  with  it.  You  must  make  allowance 
for  the  unskilfulness  of  the  interpreters. 

The  speech  of  Logan,  a  Shawanese  Chief,  to  Lord  Dunmore: 
"  I  appeal  to  any  white  man  to  say,  if  ever  he  entered  Logan's 
cabin  hungry,  and  I  gave  him  not  meat;  if  ever  he  came  cold  or 
naked,  and  I  gave  him  not  clothing.  During  the  course  of  the 
last  long  and  bloody  war,  Logan  remained  idle  in  his  tent,  an 
advocate  for  peace;  nay,  such  was  my  love  for  the  whites,  that 
those  of  my  own  country  pointed  at  me  as  they  passed  by,  and 
said,  '  Logan  is  the  friend  of  white  men.'  I  had  even  thought 
to  live  with  you  but  for  the  injuries  of  one  man.  Col.  Cressop, 
the  last  spring,  in  cold  blood  and  unprovoked,  cut  off  all  the 

20  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1775. 

relo  lions  of  Logan,  not  sparing  even  my  women  and  children. 
There  runs  riot  a  drop  of  my  blood  in  the  veins  of  any  human 
creature.  This  called  on  me  for  revenge.  I  have  sought  it;  I 
have  killed  many;  I  have  fully  glutted  my  vengeance.  For  my 
country  I  rejoice  at  the  beams  of  peace;  but  do  not  harbor  a 
thought  that  mine  is  the  joy  of  fear.  Logan  never  felt  fear. 
He  will  not  turn  on  his  heel  to  save  his  life.  Who  is  there  to 
mourn  for  Logan  ? — not  one !  " 

If  you  should  see  any  of  our  friends  from  Princeton  a  little 
before  the  time  of  your  intending  to  write  to  me,  and  could 
transmit  any  little  intelligence  concerning  the  health,  &c.,  of  my 
little  brother  there,  it  would  be  very  acceptable  to  me,  and  very 
gratifying  to  a  fond  mother;  but  I  desire  it  may  only  be  done 
when  it  will  cost  you  less  than  five  words. 

We  had  with  us  a  little  before  Christmas  the  Rev.  Moses 
Allen,  on  his  return  from  Boston  to  Charlestown.  He  told  me 
he  came  through  Philadelphia,  but  did  not  see  you,  though  he  ex 
presses  a  singular  regard  for  you,  and  left  his  request  with  me 
that  you  would  let  him  hear  from  you  whenever  it  is  convenient, 
promising  to  return  the  kindness  with  punctuality.  He  trav 
elled  with  considerable  equipage  for  a  dissenting  ecclesiastic, 
and  seems  fo  be  willing  to  superadd  the  airs  of  the  fine  gentle 
man  to  the  graces  of  the  spirit.  I  had  his  company  for  several 
days,  during  which  time  he  preached  two  sermons  with  general 
approbation.  His  discourses  were  above  the  common  run  some 
degree;  and  his  appearance  in  the  pulpit  on  the  whole  was  no 

discredit  to  [ ?]  He  retains  too  much  of  his  pristine 

levity,  but  promises  amendment.  I  wish  he  may  for  the  sake 
of  himself,  his  friends,  and  his  flock.  I  only  add  that  he  seems 
to  be  one  of  those  geniuses  that  are  formed  for  shifting  in  the 
world  rather  than  shining  in  a  college,  and  that  I  really  believe 
him  to  possess  a  friendly  and  generous  disposition. 

You  shall  ere  long  hear  from  me  again.  Till  then,  Vive, 
vale  et  Lcetare. 

1776.  DECLARATION    OF    RIGHTS.  21 


WILLIAMSBURG,  June  27.  1776. 
HOXD.SIR—  *  *  *  *  * 

It  is  impossible  for  me  to  say  when  the  Convention  will  ad 
journ;  but  am  pretty  certain  it  will  not  be  so  soon  as  was 
expected  when  I  wrote  by . 

It  is  said  that  seven  ships,  some  of  them  very  large,  have 
within  a  few  days  past  come  to  the  aid  of  Dunmore.     Whether 
they  be  transports  or  ships  of  war  is  not  yet  determined. 
I  am,  dear  sir,  yours  affectionately. 

[Among  Mr.  Madison's  papers  is  the  following  copy,  both  in  print  and  manu 
script,  of  the  Declaration  of  Rights,  as  reported  by  the  select  committee  of  the 
Virginia  convention  of  1776.  It  corresponds  in  the  main,  though  not  without 
occasional  variations,  with  the  original  draft  prepared  by  Colonel  George  Mason. 
In  the  last  article,  to  which  the  note  there  subjoined  by  Mr.  Madison  refers,  the 
draft  of  the  committee  and  that  of  Colonel  Mason  were  in  all  respects  identical.] 

The  following  Declaration  was  reported  to  the  Convention  by 
the  committee  appointed  to  prepare  the  same,  and  referred  to 
the  consideration  of  a  committee  of  the  whole  Convention;  and 
in  the  mean  time  is  ordered  to  be  printed  for  the  perusal  of  the 
members  : 

A  DECLARATION  OF  RIGHTS  made  by  the  representatives  of 
the  good  people  of  Virginia,  assembled  in  full  and  free  conven 
tion,  which  rights  do  pertain  to  us  and  our  posterity,  as  the 
basis  and  foundation  of  government. 

1.  That  all  men  are  born  equally  free  and  independent,  and 
have  certain  inherent  natural  rights,  of  which  they  cannot,  by 
any  compact,  deprive  their  posterity  ;    among  which  are  the 
enjoyment  of  life  and  liberty,  with  the  means  of  acquiring  and 
possessing  property,  and  pursuing  and  obtaining  happiness  and 

2.  That  all  power  is  vested  in,  and  consequently  derived 

22  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1776. 

from,  the  people;  that  magistrates  are  their  trustees  and  serv 
ants,  and  at  all  times  amenable  to  them. 

3.  That  government  is,  or  ought  to  be,  instituted  for  the 
common  benefit,  protection,  and  security  of  the  people,  nation, 
or  community:  of  all  the  various  modes  and  forms  of  govern 
ment,  that  is  best  which  is  capable  of  producing  the  greatest 
degree  of  happiness  and  safety,  and  is  most  effectually  secured 
against  the  danger  of  maladministration;  and  that  whenever 
any  government  shall  be  found  inadequate  or  contrary  to  these 
purposes,  a  majority  of  the  community  hath  an  indubitable, 
unalienable,  and  indefeasible  right  to  reform,  alter,  or  abolish  it, 
in  such  manner  as  shall  be  judged  most  conducive  to  the  public 

4.  That  no  man  or  set  of  men  are  entitled  to  exclusive  or 
separate  emoluments  or  privileges  from  the  community  but  in 
consideration  of  public  services;  which  not  being  descendible  or 
hereditary,  the  idea  of  a  man  born  a  magistrate,  a  legislator,  or 
a  judge,  is  unnatural  and  absurd. 

5.  That  the  legislative  and  executive  powers  of  the  State 
should  be  separate  and  distinct  from  the  judicative;  and  that 
the  members  of  the  two  first  may  be  restrained  from  oppression 
by  feeling  and  participating  the  burdens  of  the  people,  they 
should,  at  fixed  periods,  be  reduced  to  a  private  station,  return 
into  that  body  from  which  they  were  originally  taken,  and  the 
vacancies  be  supplied  by  frequent,  certain,  and  regular  elec 

6.  That  elections  of  members  to  serve  as  representatives  of 
the  people,  in  Assembly,  ought  to  be  free;  and  that  all  men, 
having  sufficient  evidence  of  permanent  common  interest  with 
and  attachment  to  the  community,  have  the  right  of  suffrage. 

7.  That  no  part  of  a  man's  property  can  be  taken  from  him, 
or  applied  to  public  uses,  without  his  own  consent  or  that  of 
his  legal  representatives;  nor  are  the  people  bound  by  any  laws 
but  such  as  they  have,  in  like  manner,  assented  to  for  their 
common  good. 

8.  That  all  power  of  suspending  laws,  or  the  execution  of 
laws  by  any  authority  without  consent  of  the  representative? 

177G.  DECLARATION    OF    RIGHTS.  23 

of  the  people,  is  injurious  to  their  rights  and  ought  not  to  be 

9.  That  laws  having   retrospect  to  crimes,  and   punishing 
offences  committed  before  the  existence  of  such  laws,  are  gene 
rally  oppressive  and  ought  to  be  avoided. 

10.  That  in  all  capital  or  criminal  prosecutions  a  man  hath  a 
right  to  demand  the  cause  and  nature  of  his  accusation,  to  be 
confronted  with  the  accusers  or  witnesses,  to  call  for  evidence 
in  his  favor,  and  to  a  speedy  trial  by  an  impartial  jury  of  his 
vicinage,  without  whose  unanimous  consent  he  cannot  be  found 

O      ' 

guilty,  nor  can  he  be  compelled  to  give  evidence  against  him 
self  ;  that  no  man  be  deprived  of  his  liberty  except  by  the  law 
of  the  land,  or  the  judgment  of  his  peers. 

11.  That  excessive  bail  ought  not  to  be  required,  nor  exces 
sive  fines  imposed,  nor  cruel  and  unusual  punishments  inflicted. 

12.  That  warrants  unsupported  by  evidence,  whereby  any 
officer  or  messenger  may  be  commanded  or  required  to  search 
suspected  places,  or  to  seize  any  person  or  persons,  his  or  their 
property,  not  particularly  described,  are  grievous  and  oppres 
sive,  and  ought  not  to  be  granted. 

13.  That  in  controversies  respecting  property,  and  in  suits 
between  man  and  man,  the  ancient  trial  by  jury  is  preferable  to 
any  other,  and  ought  to  be  held  sacred. 

14.  That  the  freedom  of  the  press  is  one  of  the  great  bul 
warks  of  liberty,  and  can  never  be  restrained  but  by  despotic 

15.  That  a  well-regulated  militia,  composed  of  the  body  of 
the  people,  trained  to  arms,  is  the  proper,  natural,  and  safe 
defence  of  a  free  State;  that  standing  armies  in  time  of  peace 
should  be  avoided  as  dangerous  to  liberty;  and  that  in  all  cases 
the  military  should  be  under  strict  subordination  to,  and  gov 
erned  by,  the  civil  power. 

16.  That  the  people  have  a  right  to  uniform  government,  and 
therefore  that  no  government  separate  from,  or  independent  of 
the  government  of  Virginia,  ought  of  right  to  be  erected  or 
established  within  the  limits  thereof. 

17.  That  no  free  government  or  the  blessings  of  liberty  can 

24  WORKS    OF    MAD  I  SON. 

be  preserved  to  any  people  but  by  a  firm  adherence  to  justice, 
moderation,  temperance,  frugality,  and  virtue,  and  by  frequent 
recurrence  to  fundamental  principles. 

18.  That  Religion,  or  the  duty  which  we  owe  to  our  CREATOR, 
and  the  manner  of  discharging  it,  can  be  directed  only  by  reason 
and  conviction,  not  by  force  or  violence;  and  therefore  that  all 
men  should  enjoy  the  fullest  toleration  in  the  exercise  of  reli 
gion  according  to  the  dictates  of  conscience,  unpunished  and 
unrestrained  by  the  magistrate,  unless,  under  color  of  religion, 
any  man  disturb  the  peace,  the  happiness,  or  safety  of  society; 
and  that  it  is  the  mutual  duty  of  all  to  practice  Christian  for 
bearance,  love,  and  charity  towards  each  other.* 

[The  following  draught  of  a  "  Plan  of  Government,"  which  seems  to  have  been 
the  original  sketch  of  the  Virginia  Constitution  of  177(5,  is  found  among  Mr. 
Madison's  papers,  both  in  print  and  transcribed  by  him;  and  the  two  notes,  the 
one  at  the  beginning  and  the  other  at  the  end,  are  subjoined  in  his  hand-writing 
to  the  manuscript  copy:] 


Laid  before  the   Committee  of  the  House,  which  they  have 

ordered  to  be  printed  for  the  perusal  of  the  members. t 
1.  Let  the  legislative,  executive,  and  judicative  departments 

*  On  the  printed  paper  here  literally  copied  is  a  manuscript  variation  of  this 
last  article,  making  it  read  :  i;  That  religion,  or  the  duty  we  owe  to  our  Creator, 
and  the  manner  of  discharging  it,  being  under  the  direction  of  reason  and  con 
viction  only,  not  of  violence  or  compulsion,  all  men  are  equally  entitled  to  the 
full  and  free  exercise  of  it  according  to  the  dictates  of  conscience;  and  therefore 
that  no  man  or  class  of  men  ought,  on  account  of  religion,  to  be  invested  with 
peculiar  emoluments  or  privileges,  nor  subjected  to  any  penalties  or  disabilities, 
unless,  under  color  of  religion,  the  preservation  of  equal  liberty  and  the  exist 
ence  of  the  State  be  manifestly  endangered. 

This  variation  is  in  the  handwriting  of  J.  M.,  and  is  recollected  to  have  been 
brought  forward  by  him,  with  a  view  more  particularly  to  substitute  for  the  idea 
expressed  by  the  term  "  toleration "  an  absolute  and  equal  right  in  all  to  ihe 
exercise  of  religion  according  to  the  dictates  of  conscience.  The  proposal  wa« 
moulded  into  the  last  article  in  the  Declaration  as  finally  established,  from  which 
the  term  "  toleration"  is  excluded. — J.  M. 

f  An  alteration  in  the  handwriting  of  J.  M.  erases  "  of  the  House,"  and  inserts 
after  committee,  appointed  for  that  purpose;  and  adds  at  the  end  after  "  members.'1 

1T7G.  PLAN    OF    GOVERNMENT.  25 

be  separate  and  distinct,  so  that  neither  exercise  the  powers 
properly  belonging  to  the  other. 

2.  Let  the  legislative  be  formed  of  two  distinct  branches,  who 
together  shall  be  a  complete  Legislature.     They  shall  meet 
once  or  oftener  every  year,  and  shall  be  called  the  GENERAL 

3.  Let  one  of  these  be  called  the  Lower  House  of  Assembly, 
and  consist  of  two  delegates  or  representatives,  chosen  for  each 
county  annually,  by  such  men  as  have  resided  in  the  same  for 
one  year  last  past,  are  freeholders  of  the  county,  possess  an 
estate  of  inheritance  of  land  in  Virginia  of  at  least  one  thousand 
pounds  value,  and  are  upwards  of  twenty-four  years  of  age. 

4.  Let  the  other  be  called  the  Upper  House  of  Assembly,  and 
consist  of  twenty-four  members,  for  whose  election  let  the  differ 
ent  counties  be  divided  into  twenty-four  districts,  and  each 
county  of  the  respective  district,  at  the  time  of  the  election  of 
its  delegates  for  the  Lower  House,  choose  twelve  deputies  or 
sub-electors,  being  freeholders  residing  therein,  and  having  an 
estate  of  inheritance  of  lands  within  the  district,  of  at  least  five 
hundred  pounds  value.     In  case  of  dispute,  the  qualifications  to 
be  determined  by  the  majority  of  the  said  deputies.     Let  these 
deputies  choose  by  ballot  one  member  for  the  Upper  House  of 
Assembly,  who  is  a  freeholder  of  the  district,  hath  been  a  resi 
dent  therein  for  one  year  last  past,  possesses  an  estate  of  inher 
itance  of  lands  in  Virginia  of  at  least  two  thousand  pounds 
value,  and  is  upwards  of  twenty-eight  years  of  age.     To  keep 
up  this  Assembly  by  rotation  let  the  districts  be  equally  divided 
into  four  classes  and  numbered.     At  the  end  of  one  year,  after 
the  general  election,  let  the  six  members  elected  by  the  first 
division  be  displaced,  rendered  ineligible  for  four  years,  and 

tf  the  House;  making  the  whole  read,  Laid  before  the  committee  appointed  for 
that  purpose,  which  they  have  ordered  to  be  printed  for  the  perusal  of  the  mem 
bers  of  the  House. 

From  this  correction  it  appears  that  what  was  laid  before  the  committee  was 
printed  by  its  order,  not  by  that  of  the  Convention,  as  was  done  in  the  case  of  the 
''Declaration  of  Rights,"  reported  by  Mr.  Gary  from  the  appointed  committee: 
nor  is  there  in  the  journal  any  order  for  printing  any  plan  of  government  reported 
to  the  Convention  from  a  committee. — J.  M. 

26  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1776. 

the  vacancies  be  supplied  in  the  manner  aforesaid.  Let  this 
rotation  be  applied  to  each  division  according  to  its  number, 
and  continued  in  due  order  annually. 

5.  Let  each  House  settle  its  own  rules  of  proceeding;  direct 
writs  of  election  for  supplying  intermediate  vacancies;  and  let 
the  right  of  suffrage,  both  in  the  election  of  members  for  the 
Lower  House  and  of  deputies  for  the  districts,  be  extended  to 
those  having  leases  for  land  in  which  there  is  an  unexpired 
term  of  seven  years,  and  to  every  housekeeper  who  hath  resided 
for  one  year  last  past  in  the  county,  and  hath  been  the  father 
of  three  children  in  this  country. 

6.  Let  all  laws  originate  in  the  lower  House,  to  be  approved 
or  rejected  by  the  upper  House,  or  to  be  amended  with  the 
consent  of  the  lower  House,  except  money  bills,  which  in  no 
instance  shall  be  altered  by  the  upper  House,  but  wholly  ap 
proved  or  rejected. 

7.  Let  a  Governor,  or  Chief  Magistrate,  be  chosen  annually 
by  joint  ballot  of  both  Houses,  who  shall  not  continue  in  that 
office  longer  than  three  years  successively,  and  then  be  ineligi 
ble  for  the  next  three  years.     Let  an  adequate  but  moderate 
salary  be  settled  on  him  during  his  continuance  in  office;  and 
let  him,  with  the  advice  of  a  Council  of  State,  exercise  the  exec 
utive  powers  of  Government,  and  the  power  of  proroguing  or 
adjourning  the  General  Assembly,  or  of  calling  it  upon  emer 
gencies,  and  of  granting  reprieves  or  pardons,  except  in  cases 
where  the  prosecution  shall  have  been  carried  on  by  the  Lower 
House  of  Assembly. 

8.  Let  a  privy  Council  or  Council  of  State,  consisting  of  eight 
members,  be  chosen  by  joint  ballot  of  both  Houses  of  Assembly 
promiscuously,  from  their  own  members,  or  the  people  at  large, 
to  assist  in  the  administration  of  Government. 

Let  the  Governor  be  President  of  this  Council;  but  let  them 
annually  choose  one  of  their  own  members  as  Vice  President, 
who,  in  case  of  the  death  or  absence  of  the  Governor,  shall  act 
as  Lieutenant  Governor.  Let  these  members  be  sufficient  to 
act,  and  their  advice  be  entered  of  record  in  their  proceedings. 
Let  them  appoint  their  own  clerk,  who  shall  have  a  salary  set- 

1776.  TLAN    OF    GOVERNMENT.  27 

tied  by  law,  and  taken  with  oath  of  secrecy,  in  such  matters  as 
he  shall  be  directed  to  conceal,  unless  called  upon  by  the  Lower 
House  of  Assembly  for  information.  Let  a  sum  of  money  ap 
propriated  to  that  purpose  be  divided  annually  among  the  mem 
bers  in  proportion  to  their  attendance,  and  let  them  be  incapa 
ble,  during  their  continuance  in  office,  of  sitting  in  either  House 
of  Assembly.  Let  two  members  be  removed  by  ballot  of  their 
own  Board  at  the  end  of  every  three  years,  and  be  ineligible 
for  the  next  three  years.  Let  this  be  regularly  continued  by 
rotation,  so  as  that  no  member  be  removed  before  he  hath  been 
three  years  in  the  Council;  and  let  these  vacancies,  as  well  as 
those  occasioned  by  death  or  incapacity,  be  supplied  by  new 
elections  in  the  same  manner  as  the  first. 

9.  Let  the  Governor,  with  the  advice  of  the  Privy  Council, 
have  the  appointment  of  the  militia  officers,  and  the  government 
of  the  militia,  under  the  laws  of  the  country. 

10.  Let  the  two  Houses  of  Assembly,  by  joint  ballot,  appoint 
Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court,  Judges  in  Chancery,  Judges  of 
the  Admiralty,  and  the  Attorney  General,  to  be  commissioned 
by  the  Governor,  and  continue  in  office  during  good  behaviour. 
In  -case  of  death  or  incapacity,  let  the  Governor,  with  the  advice 
of  the  Privy  Council,  appoint  persons  to  succeed  in  office  pro 
tempo  re,  to  be  approved  or  displaced  by  both  Houses.     Let 
these  officers  have  fixed  and  adequate  salaries,  and  be  incapable 
of  having  a  seat  in  either  House  of  Assembly,  or  in  the  Privy 
Council,  except  the  Attorney  General  and  the  Treasurer,  who 
may  be  permitted  to  a  seat  in  the  lower  House  of  Assembly. 

11.  Let  the  Governor  and  Privy  Council  appoint  justices  of 
the  peace  for  the  counties.     Let  the  clerks  of  all  the  courts,  the 
sheriffs,  and  coroners,  be  nominated  by  the  respective  courts, 
approved  by  the  Governor  and  Privy  Council,  and  commissioned 
by  the  Governor.     Let  the  clerks  be  continued  during  good 
behaviour,  and  all  fees  be  regulated  by  law.     Let  the  justices 
appoint  constables. 

12.  Let  the  Governor,  any  of  the  Privy  Counsellors,  Judges 
of  the  Supreme  Court,  and  all  other  officers  of  Government,  for 
mal-administration  or  corruption  be  prosecuted  by  the  Lower 

2&  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1776. 

House  of  Assembly,  (to  be  carried  on  by  the  Attorney  General, 
or  such  other  person  as  the  House  may  appoint,)  in  the  Supreme 
Court  of  common  law.  If  found  guilty,  let  him  or  them  be 
either  removed  from  office,  or  forever  disabled  to  hold  any 
office  under  the  Government,  or  subjected  to  such  pains  or 
penalties  as  the  laws  shall  direct. 

13.  Let  all  commissions  run  in  the  name  of  the  Commonwealth 
of  Virginia,  and  be  tested  by  the  Governor,  with  the  seal  of  the 
Commonwealth  annexed.     Let  writs  run  in  the  same  manner, 
and  be  tested  by  the  clerks  of  the  several  courts.     Let  indict 
ments  conclude,  against  the  peace  and  dignity  of  tJie  Common 

14.  Let  a  Treasurer  be  appointed  annually,  by  joint  ballot 
of  both  Houses. 

15.  In   order  to  introduce  this  Government,  let  the  repre 
sentatives  of  the  people  now  met  in  Convention  choose  twenty- 
four  members  to  be  an  Upper  House,  and  let  both  Houses,  by 
joint  ballot,  choose  a  Governor  and  Privy  Council;  the  Upper 
House  to  continue  until  the  last  day  of  March  next,  and  the 
other  officers  until  the  end  of  the  succeeding  session  of  Assem 
bly.     In  case  of  vacancies,  the  President  to  issue  writs  for  new 


ORANGE,  March,  1777. 

HOND.SlR—  *          *          *          *          *          * 

The  following  odd  affair  has  furnished  the  court  of  this  county 
with  some  very  unexpected  business. 

Two  persons  travelling  from  Philadelphia  to  the  southward, 
one  of  them  a  Frenchman  and  an  officer  in  the  Continental 

*  It  is  not  known  with  certainty  from  whom  this  first  draught  of  a  plan  of 
Government  proceeded.  There  is  a  faint  tradition  that  Meriwether  Smith 
spoke  of  it  as  originating  with  him.  What  is  remembered  by  J.  M.  is,  that  George 
Mason  was  the  most  prominent  member  in  discussing  and  developing  the  Consti 
tution  in  its  passage  through  the  Convention.  The  preamble  is  known  to  have 
been  furnished  by  Thomas  Jefferson.— J.  M. 

17T7.  LETTERS.  29 

army,  and  the  other  a  man  of  decent  figure,  came  to  the  court 
house  on  the  evening  of  the  court  day,  and  immediately  inquired 
for  a  member  of  the  committee.  Being  withdrawn  with  several 
members  into  a  private  room,  they  gave  information  that  they  fell 
in  with  a  man  on  the  road  a  few  miles  from  the  court-house,  who, 
in  the  course  of  conversation  on  public  affairs,  gave  abundant 
proof  of  his  being  an  adherent  to  the  King  of  Great  Britain, 
and  a  dangerous  enemy  to  the  State;  that  he  ran  into  the  most 
outrageous  abuse  of  our  proceedings,  and  on  their  threatening 
to  inform  against  him,  in  the  most  daring  manner  bid  defiance 
to  committees,  or  whoever  should  pretend  to  judge  or  punish 
him.  They  said  the  man  they  alluded  to  had  come  with  them 
to  the  court-house,  and  they  made  no  doubt  but  they  could  point 
him  out  in  the  crowd.  On  their  so  doing,  the  culprit  appeared 
to  be  Benjamin  Haley.  As  the  committee  had  no  jurisdiction 
in  the  case,  it  was  referred  to  a  justice  of  the  peace.  Every 
one  seemed  to  be  agreed  that  his  conduct  was  a  direct  violation 
of  law,  and  called  aloud  for  public  notice;  but  the  witnesses 
being  travellers,  and  therefore  unable  to  attend  at  a  trial,  it 
was  thought  best  not  to  undertake  a  prosecution  which  prom 
ised  nothing  but  impunity  and  matter  of  triumph  to  the  offender. 
Here  the  affair  dropped,  and  every  one  supposed  was  entirely 
at  an  end;  but  as  the  Frenchman  was  accidentally  passing 
through  the  room  where  Haley  was,  he  took  occasion  to  ad 
monish  the  people  of  his  being  a  disaffected  person,  and  up 
braided  him  for  his  tory  principles.  This  introduced  a  debate, 
which  was  continued  for  some  time  with  great  heat  on  the  part 
of  the  Frenchman,  and  great  insolence  on  the  part  of  Haley. 
At  the  request  of  the  latter,  they  at  length  both  appeared  before 
a  justice  of  the  peace.  Haley  at  first  evaded  the  charges  of 
his  antagonist;  but  after  some  time,  said  he  scorned  to  be  coun 
terfeit,  and  in  answer  to  some  questions  that  were  put  to  him, 
signified  that  we  were  in  the  state  of  rebellion  and  had  revolted 
from  our  lawful  Sovereign,  and  that  if  the  King  had  justice 
done  him,  his  authority  would  still  be  in  exercise  among  us. 
This  passed  in  the  presence  of  twenty  or  thirty  persons,  and 
rendered  the  testimony  of  the  travellers  needless.  A  warrant 

30  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1778. 

for  arresting  him  was  immediately  issued  and  executed.  The 
criminal  went  through  his  examination,  in  which  his  very  pleas 
seemed  to  aggravate  his  guilt.  Witnesses  were  summoned, 
sworn,  and  their  evidences  taken;  and  on  his  obstinate  refusal 
to  give  security  for  his  appearance,  he  was  committed  to  close 
gaol.  This  happened  about  eight  o'clock.  I  have  since  heard 
he  begged  about  one  o'clock  in  the  morning  to  be  admitted  to 
bail,  and  went  home,  but  not  without  threats  of  revenge,  and 
making  public  declaration  that  he  was  King  George's  man.  I 
have  stated  the  case  thus  particularly  that  you  may,  if  an  op 
portunity  occurs,  take  the  advice  of  some  gentleman  skilled  in 
the  law,  on  the  most  proper  and  legal  mode  of  proceeding 
against  him. 


WILLIAMSBUKG,  January  23,  1778. 

HONORED  SIR, — I  got  safe  to  this  place  on  Tuesday  follow 
ing  the  day  I  left  home,  and  at  the  earnest  invitation  of  my 
kinsman,  Mr.  Madison,*  have  taken  my  lodgings  in  a  room  of 
the  President's  house,  which  is  a  much  better  accommodation 
than  I  could  have  promised  myself. 

You  will  be  informed  in  due  time  by  advertisement  from  the 
Governor  what  is  proper  to  be  done  with  the  shoes,  £c.,  col 
lected  for  the  army.  You  will  be  able  to  obtain  so  circumstan 
tial  an  account  of  public  affairs  from  Major  Moore,  that  I  may 
spare  myself  the  trouble  of  anticipating  it. 

Although  I  well  know  how  inconvenient  and  disagreeable  it 
is  to  you  to  continue  to  act  as  Lieutenant  of  the  county,  I  can 
not  help  informing  you  that  a  resignation  at  this  juncture  is 
here  supposed  to  have  a  very  unfriendly  aspect  on  the  execu 
tion  of  the  draught,  and  consequently  to  betray  at  least  a  want 
of  patriotism  and  perseverance.  This  is  so  much  the  case  that 
a  recommendation  of  county  Lieutenant  this  day  received  by 

*  The  Rev.  James  Madison,  afterwards  Bishop,  was  at  this  time  President  of 
William  and  Mary  College. 

1778.  LETTERS.  31 

the  Governor,  to  supply  the  place  of  one  who  has  resigned  to 
the  court,  produced  a  private  verbal  message  to  the  old  Lieu 
tenant  to  continue  to  act  at  least  as  long  as  the  present  meas 
ures  were  in  execution. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  your  affectionate  son. 


WILLIAMSBURG.  March  6,  1778. 

HONORED  SIR-         *        *        *        *        *  * 

We  have  no  news  here  that  can  be  depended  on.  It  is  said 
by  Mr.  King,  who  is  just  from  Petersburg,  that  a  gentleman  was 
at  that  place  who  informed  that  sundry  persons  had  arrived  at 
Edcnton  from  Providence  Island,  who  affirmed  that  they  saw  in 
Providence  a  London  paper  giving  an  account  that  Bourgoyne's 
disaster  had  produced  the  most  violent  fermentation  in  England; 
that  the  Parliament  had  refused  to  grant  the  supplies  for  carry 
ing  on  the  war,  and  that  a  motion  for  acknowledging  our  inde 
pendence  was  overruled  by  a  small  majority  only. 

The  people  who  bring  this  news  to  Edenton,  as  the  story 
goes,  were  prisoners  with  the  enemy  at  Providence,  when  they 
were  relieved  by  a  New  England  privateer,  which  suddenly 
landed  her  men,  took  possession  of  the  small  fort  that  com 
manded  the  harbor,  and  secured  several  vessels  that  lay  in  it, 
one  of  which  was  given  up  to  these  men  to  bring  them  to  the 
continent.  I  leave  you  to  form  your  own  judgment  as  to  the 
credibility  of  this  report.  I  wish  it  carried  stronger  marks  of 

The  Governor  has  just  received  a  letter  from  the  captain  of 
the  Trench  frigate  I  mentioned  in  my  last,  informing  him  of  his 
safe  arrival  in  North  Carolina  with  a  rich  cargo  of  various 
useful  and  important  articles,  which  will  be  offered  for  sale  to 
us.  The  frigate  belongs  to  a  company  at  Nantes,  in  France. 
We  also  hear,  but  in  a  less  authentic  manner,  that  7,000  tents 
have  arrived  at  Martinique,  on  their  way  from  France  to  the 
grand  army. 

32  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1779. 

A  letter  from  New  York  town,  this  moment  received,  informs 
us  that  an  exchange  of  prisoners  is  at  last  agreed  on  between 
W.  and  H. 

Your  affectionate  son. 


WILLIAMSBURG,  December  8,  1779. 

HONORED  SIR, — The  assembly  have  not  yet  concluded  their 
plan  for  complying  with  the  requisitions  from  Congress.  It 
may  be  relied  on  that  that  cannot  be  done  without  very  heavy 
taxes  on  every  species  of  property.  Indeed,  it  is  thought  ques 
tionable  whether  it  will  not  be  found  absolutely  impossible. 
No  exertions,  however,  ought  to  be  omitted  to  testify  our  zeal 
to  support  Congress  in  the  prosecution  of  the  war.  It  is  also 
proposed  to  procure  a  large  sum  on  loan  by  stipulating  to  pay 
the  interest  in  tobacco.  A  tax  on  this  article  necessary  for 
that  purpose  is  to  be  collected.  Being  very  imperfectly  ac 
quainted  with  the  proceedings  of  the  Assembly  on  this  matter, 
I  must  refer  you  for  the  particulars  to  the  return  of  Major 
Moore,  or  some  future  opportunity.  The  law  for  escheats  and 
forfeitures  will  be  repealed  as  it  respects  orphans,  &c.  The 
effects  of  the  measures  taken  by  the  Assembly  on  the  credit  of 
our  money  and  the  prices  of  things  cannot  be  predicted.  If 
our  expectations  had  not  been  so  invariably  disappointed,  they 
ought  to  be  supposed  very  considerable.  But  from  the  rapid 
progress  of  depreciation  at  present,  and  the  universal  struggle 
among  sellers  to  bring  up  prices,  I  cannot  flatter  myself  with 
the  hope  of  any  great  reformation.  Corn  is  already  at  £20, 
and  rising.  Tobacco  is  also  rising.  Pork  will  probably  com 
mand  any  price.  Imported  goods  exceed  everything  else  many 
hundreds  per  cent. 

I  am  much  at  a  loss  how  to  dispose  of  Willey.*  I  cannot 
think  it  would  be  expedient  in  the  present  state  of  things  to 

*  The  familiar  name  of  his  younger  brother. 

1779.  LETTERS.  33 

send  him  out  of  the  State.  From  a  new  arrangement  of  the 
college  here,  nothing  is  in  future  to  be  taught  but  the  higher 
and  rarer  branches  of  science.  The  preliminary  studies  must, 
therefore,  be  pursued  in  private  schools  or  academies.  If  the 
academy  at  Prince  Edward  is  so  far  dissolved  that  you  think 
his  return  thither  improper,  I  would  recommend  his  being  put 
under  the  instruction  of  Mr.  Maury,  rather  than  suffer  him  to  be 
idle  at  home.  The  languages,  (including  English,)  geography, 
and  arithmetic,  ought  to  be  his  employment,  till  he  is  prepared 
to  receive  a  finish  to  his  education  at  this  place. 

By  the  late  change,  also,  in  the  college,  the  former  custom  of 
furnishing  the  table  for  the  president  and  professors  is  to  be 
discontinued.  I  am  induced  by  this  consideration  to  renew  my 
request  for  the  flour  mentioned  to  you.  It  will  perhaps  be  the 
only  opportunity  I  may  have  of  requiting  received  and  singular 
favors;  and,  for  the  reason  just  assigned,  will  be  extremely  con 
venient.  I  wish  to  know  without  any  loss  of  time  how  far  this 
supply  may  be  reckoned  on.  Perhaps  Mr.  R.  Burnley  would 
receive  and  store  it  for  me. 

I  am  desired  by  a  gentleman  here  to  procure  for  him  two 
bear  skins  to  cover  the  foot  of  his  chariot.  If  they  can  be 
bought  anywhere  in  your  neighborhood,  I  beg  you  or  Ambrose 
will  take  the  trouble  to  inquire  for  them,  and  send  them  to 
Captain  Anderson,  at  Hanover  town.  If  the  flour  should  come 
down,  the  same  opportunity  will  serve  for  them.  Captain 
Anderson  may  be  informed  that  they  are  for  Mr.  Norton.  If 
they  can  be  got  without  too  much  trouble,  I  should  be  glad  of 
succeeding,  as  he  will  rely  on  my  promise  to  procure  them  for 

Having  nothing  to  add  under  the  head  of  news,  I  subscribe 
myself  your  dutiful  son. 

VOL.  i.  3 

34  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17C3. 


PHILADELPHIA,  March  20,  17SO. 


The  extreme  badness  of  the  roads  and  frequency  of  rains 
rendered  my  journey  so  slow  that  I  did  not  reach  this  place  till 
Saturday  last.  The  only  public  intelligence  I  have  to  commu 
nicate,  is  that  the  great  and  progressive  depreciation  of  the 
paper  currency  had  introduced  such  disorder  and  perplexity 
into  public  affairs,  for  the  present,  and  threatened  to  load  the 
United  States  with  such  an  intolerable  burden  of  debt,  that 
Congress  have  thought  it  expedient  to  convert  the  200,000,000 
of  dollars  now  in  circulation  into  a  real  debt  of  5,000,000,  by 
establishing  the  exchange  at  40  for  1 ;  and  taxes  for  calling  it 
in  during  the  ensuing  year  are  to  be  payable,  at  the  option  of 
the  people,  in  specie  or  paper,  according  to  that  difference.  In 
order  to  carry  on  public  measures  in  future,  money  is  to  be 
emitted  under  the  combined  faith  of  Congress  and  the  several 
States,  secured  on  permanent  and  specific  funds  to  be  provided 
by  the  latter.  This  scheme  was  finally  resolved  on  on  Saturday 
last.  It  has  not  yet  been  printed,  but  will  be  immediately.  I 
shall  transmit  a  copy  to  you  by  the  first  opportunity.  The 
little  time  I  have  been  here  makes  it  impossible  for  me  to  enter 
into  a  particular  delineation  of  it.  It  will  probably  create 
great  perplexity  and  complaints  in  many  private  transactions. 
Congress  have  recommended  to  the  States  to  repeal  their 
tender  laws,  and  to  take  measures  for  preventing  injustice  as 
much  as  possible.  It  is  probable  that  in  the  case  of  loans  to 
the  public,  the  state  of  depreciation  at  the  time  they  were  made 
will  be  the  rule  of  payment;  but  nothing  is  yet  decided  on  that 


PHILADELPHIA,  October  3,  1780. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  had  the  pleasure  of  receiving  yours  of  the  25th 
ult.  yesterday,  and  am  sorry  it  is  not  yet  in  my  power  to  grat- 


ify  your  hopes  with  any  prospect  of  a  successful  issue  to  this 
campaign.  The  reports  of  the  approach  or  arrival  of  a  French 
fleet  continue  to  be  circulated,  and  to  prove  groundless.  If  any 
foreign  operations  are  undertaken  on  the  continent,  it  will 
probably  be  against  the  Floridas  by  the  Spaniards.  A  Spanish 
gentleman,  who  resides  in  this  city,  has  received  information 
from  the  Governor  of  Cuba  that  an  armament  would  pass  from 
the  Havannah  to  Pensacola  towards  the  end  of  last  month,  and 
that  ten  or  twelve  ships  of  the  line,  and  as  many  thousand  troops, 
would  soon  be  in  readiness  for  an  expedition  against  St.  Augus 
tine.  It  would  be  much  more  for  the  credit  of  that  nation,  as 
well  as  for  the  common  good,  if  instead  of  wasting  their  time 
and  resources  in  these  separate  and  unimportant  enterprises, 
they  would  join  heartily  with  the  French  in  attacking  the 
enemy,  where  success  would  produce  the  desired  effect. 

The  enclosed  papers  contain  all  the  particulars  which  have 
been  received  concerning  the  apostacy  and  plot  of  Arnold.  A 
variety  of  his  iniquitous  jobs  prior  to  this  chef  d'ceuvre  of  his 
villainy,  carried  on  under  cover  of  his  military  authority,  have 
been  detected  among  his  papers,  and  involve  a  number  of  per 
sons  both  within  and  without  the  enemy's  lines.  The  embark 
ation  lately  going  on  at  New  York,  and  given  out  to  be 
destined  for  Virginia  or  Rhode  Island,  was  pretty  certainly  a 
part  of  the  plot  against  West  Point;  although  the  first  repre 
sentation  of  it  has  not  yet  been  officially  contradicted. 

With  sincere  regard,  I  am,  Dr  sir,  your  obt  and  humble  serv 


PHILADELPHIA,  October  10,  1780. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  1st  instant  came  safe  to  hand 
yesterday.  The  enclosed  was  sent  to  Mr.  Pendleton,  who  is 
still  in  town. 

36  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1780. 

All  we  know  of  the  several  fleets  in  the  American  seas,  is 
that  Rodney  with  a  few  ships  is  at  New  York,  the  remainder 
having  joined  Graves  and  Arbutlmot,  whom  we  know  nothing 
about.  Ternay  is  still  at  Rhode  Island.  The  main  French 
fleet  under  Guichen  left  the  West  Indies  about  the  time  first 
mentioned,  with  a  large  fleet  of  merchantmen  under  its  convoy, 
and  has  not  since  been  heard  of.  The  residue  of  the  French 
fleet  is  in  the  West  Indies,  but  we  do  not  hear  of  their  being 
any  way  employed.  It  is  said  an  English  expedition  is  prepar 
ing  at  Jamaica  against  some  of  the  Spanish  settlements.  The 
Spanish  expeditions  against  the  Floridas  I  believe  I  mentioned 
in  my  last. 

We  have  private  accounts,  through  a  channel  which  has  sel 
dom  deceived,  that  a  very  large  embarkation  is  still  going  on 
at  New  York.  I  hope  Virginia  will  not  be  surprised,  in  case 
she  should  be  the  meditated  victim. 

Andre  was  hung  as  a  spy  on  the  2d  instant.  Clinton  made 
a  frivolous  attempt  to  save  him  by  pleading  the  passport  granted 
by  Arnold.  He  submitted  to  his  fate  in  a  manner  that  showed 
him  to  be  worthy  of  a  better  one.  His  coadjutor,  Smith,  will 
soon  follow  him.  The  hero  of  the  plot,  although  he  may  for  the 
present  escape  an  ignominious  death,  must  lead  an  ignominious 
life,  which,  if  any  of  his  feelings  remain,  will  be  a  sorer  punish 
ment.  It  is  said  that  he  is  to  be  made  a  Brigadier,  and  em 
ployed  in  some  predatory  expedition  against  the  Spaniards,  in 
which  he  may  gratify  his  thirst  for  gold.  It  is  said  with  more 
probability,  that  his  baseness  is  universally  despised  by  those 
who  have  taken  advantage  of  it,  and  that  some  degree  of  resent 
ment  is  mixed  with  their  contempt,  on  account  of  the  loss  of 
their  darling  officer,  to  which  he  was  accessory. 

With  sincere  regard,  I  am,  dear  sir,  your  obedient,  humble 

1780.  LETTERS.  37 


PHILADELPHIA,  November  14,  1780. 

DR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  6th  instant  came  to  hand  yester 
day.  Mr.  Griffin,  by  whom  you  appear  also  to  have  written, 
has  not  yet  arrived. 

1  c  gives  me  great  pleasure  to  find  that  the  enemy's  numbers 
are  so  much  less  formidable  than  was  at  first  computed;  but 
the  information  from  New  York  makes  it  not  improbable  that 
the  blank  in  the  computation  may  shortly  be  filled  up.  General 
Washington  wrote  to  Congress  on  the  4th  instant  that  another 
embarkation  was  going  on  at  that  place,  and  in  another  letter 
of  the  7th  he  says  that,  although  he  had  received  no  further 
intelligence  on  the  subject,  he  had  reason  still  to  believe  that 
such  a  measure  was  in  contemplation.  Neither  the  amount  nor 
the  object  of  it,  however,  had  been  ascertained. 

The  inroads  of  the  enemy  on  the  frontier  of  New  York  have 
been  distressing  and  wasteful  almost  beyond  their  own  example. 
They  have  totally  laid  in  ashes  a  fine  settlement  called  Schoharie, 
which  was  capable,  General  Washington  says,  of  yielding  no 
less"  than  80,000  bushels  of  grain  for  public  consumption.  Such 
a  loss  is  inestimable,  and  is  the  more  to  be  regretted  because 
both  local  circumstances  and  the  energy  of  that  Government 
left  little  doubt  that  it  would  have  been  applied  to  public  use. 

I  fancy  the  taking  of  Quebec  was  a  mere  invention.  Your 
letter  gave  me  the  first  account  of  such  a  report.  A  different 
report  concerning  the  second  division  of  the  French  fleet  has 
sprung  up,  as  you  will  see  by  the  enclosed  paper.  It  is  believed 
here  by  many,  and  some  attention  given  to  it  by  all.  It  is  also 
said  that  Rodney  has  sailed  from  New  York  with  twenty  ships 
for  Europe.  If  he  has  sailed  at  all,  and  the  first  report  be  true 
also,  it  is  more  likely  that  he  has  gone  out  to  meet  the  French. 

The  late  exchange  has  liberated  about  one  hundred  and  forty 
officers  and  all  our  privates  at  New  York,  amounting  to  four 
hundred  and  seventy-six.  General  Washington  has  acceded 
to  a  proposal  of  a  further  exchange  of  the  convention  officers 

38  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1780. 

without  attaching  any  privates  to  them,  which  will  liberate 
almost  the  whole  residue  of  our  officers  at  that  place. 

I  am,  sir,  with  the  highest  esteem  and  regard,  your  obt  friend 
and  servt. 


PHILADELPHIA,  November  21,  1780. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  13th  came  safe  yesterday. 
The  past  week  has  brought  forth  very  little  of  consequence, 
except  the  disagreeable  and,  I  fear,  certain  information  of  the 
arrival  of  the  Cape  fleet.  Our  last  account  of  the  embarkation 
at  New  York  was  that  the  ships  had  fallen  down  to  the  Hook, 
that  the  number  of  troops  was  quite  unknown,  as  well  as  their 
destination,  except  that  in  general  it  was  southwardly.  It  is 
still  said  that  Philips  is  to  command  this  detachment.  If  the 
projected  junction  between  Leslie  and  Cornwallis  had  not  been 
so  opportunely  frustrated  by  the  gallant  volunteers  at  King's 
Mountain,  it  is  probable  that  Philips  would  have  reinforced  the 
former,  as  the  great  force  in  his  rear  would  otherwise  have 
rendered  every  advance  hazardous. 

At  present,  it  seems  more  likely  that  the  declining  state  of 
their  Southern  affairs  will  call  their  attention  to  that  quarter. 
They  can,  it  is  well  known,  regain  at  any  time  their  present 
footing  in  Virginia,  if  it  should  be  thought  expedient  to  aban 
don  it,  or  to  collect  in  their  forces  to  a  defensible  point;  but 
every  retrograde  step  they  take  towards  Charlestown  proves 
fatal  to  their  general  plan.  Mr.  J.  Adams,  in  a  letter  of  the 
23d  of  August,  from  Amsterdam,  received  yesterday,  says  that 
General  Prevost  had  sailed  from  England  with  a  few  frigates 
for  Cape  Fear,  in  order  to  facilitate  the  operations  of  their  arms 
in  North  Carolina,  and  that  the  Ministry  were  determined  to 
make  the  Southern  States  the  scene  of  a  very  active  winter 
campaign.  No  intimation  is  given  by  Mr.  Adams  of  the  num 
ber  of  troops  under  General  Prevost.  The  second  division  of 

1780.  LETTERS.  39 

the  French  fleet  mentioned  in  my  last  to  have  been  off  Ber 
mudas  has  not  yet  made  its  appearance.  It  is  now  either  [?] 
supposed  to  have  been  a  British  one. 

The  death  of  General  Woodford  is  announced  in  a  New 
York  paper  of  the  17th.  I  have  not  seen  the  paper,  but  am 
told  that  no  particulars  are  mentioned.  I  suppose  it  will  reach 
his  friends  before  this  will  be  received,  through  some  other 



PHILADELPHIA,  December  5,  1780. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  your  favor  of  the  27th  ult.,  and  con 
gratulate  you  on  the  deliverance  of  our  country  from  the  dis 
tresses  of  actual  invasion.  The  spirit  it  has  shewn  on  this 
occasion  will,  I  hope,  in  some  degree  protect  it  from  a  second 

.Congress  yesterday  received  letters  from  Mr.  Jay  and  Mr. 
Carmichael,  as  late  as  the  4th  and  9th  of  September.  The 
general  tenor  of  them  is  that  we  are  not  to  rely  on  much  aid  in 
the  article  of  cash  from  Spain,  her  finances  and  credit  being 
scarcely  adequate  to  her  own  necessities,  and  that  the  British 
emissaries  are  indefatigable  in  misrepresenting  our  affairs  in 
that  kingdom,  and  in  endeavoring  to  detach  it  from  the  war. 
The  character,  however,  of  the  Catholic  King  for  steadiness  and 
probity,  and  the  entire  confidence  of  our  allies  in  him,  forbid 
any  distrust  on  our  part.  Portugal,  on  the  pressing  remon 
strances  of  France  and  Spain,  has  at  length  agreed  to  shut  her 
ports  against  English  prizes,  but  still  refuses  to  accede  to  the 
armed  neutrality.  Mr.  Adams  writes  that  the  news  of  the  fate 
of  the  Quebec  and  Jamaica  fleets  arrived  at  London  nearly 
about  the  same  time,  and  had  a  very  serious  effect  on  all  ranks, 
as  well  as  on  stocks  and  insurance. 

Our  information  from  the  West  Indies  gives  a  melancholy 

40  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1780t 

picture  of  the  effects  of  the  late  tempest.  Martinique  has  suf 
fered  very  considerably,  both  in  shipping  and  people.  Not  less 
than  six  hundred  houses  have  been  destroyed  in  St.  Vincent's. 
The  Spaniards  in  Cuba,  also,  have  not  escaped,  and  it  is  reported 
that  the  fleet  on  its  way  from  the  Havannah  to  Pensacola  has 
been  so  disabled  and  dispersed  as  to  defeat  the  expedition  for  the 
present.  On  the  other  side,  our  enemies  have  suffered  severely. 
The  Ajax,  a  ship  of  the  line,  and  two  frigates  stationed  off  St. 
Lucie,  to  intercept  the  Martinique  trade,  are  certainly  lost,  with 
the  greatest  part,  if  not  the  whole,  of  their  crews;  and  there  is 
great  reason  to  believe  that  several  other  capital  ships  that 
have  not  been  since  heard  of  have  shared  the  like  fate.  The 
island  of  St.  Lucie  is  totally  defaced.  In  Barbadoes,  also, 
scarce  a  house  remains  entire,  and  one  thousand  live  hundred 
persons  at  least  have  perished.  One  of  the  largest  towns  in 
Jamaica  has  been  totally  swept  away,  and  the  island  otherwise 
much  damaged.  The  consequences  of  this  calamity  must  afford 
a  striking  proof  to  Great  Britain  of  her  folly  in  shutting  our 
ports  against  her  West  India  commerce,  and  transferring  the 
advantage  of  our  friendship  to  her  enemies. 
I  am,  Dr  sir,  yours  sincerely. 


PHILADELPHIA,  December,  1780. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  had  the  pleasure  of  yours  of  the  2d  instant 
yesterday.  We  have  not  heard  a  word  of  the  fleet  which  lately 
left  the  Chesapeake.  There  is  little  doubt  that  the  whole  of  it 
has  gone  to  the  southward. 

Our  intelligence  from  Europe  confirms  the  accession  of  Por 
tugal  to  the  neutral  league,  so  far  at  least  as  to  exclude  the 
English  from  the  privileges  which  their  vessels  of  war  have 
hitherto  enjoyed  in  her  ports.  The  Ariel,  commanded  by  P. 
Jones,  which  had  on  board  the  clothing,  &c.,  which  has  been 
long  expected  from  France,  was  dismasted  a  few  days  after  she 

1781.  LETTERS.  41 

sailed,  and  obliged  to  return  into  port;  an  event  which  must 
prolong  the  sufferings  which  our  army  has  been  exposed  to  from 
the  delay  of  this  supply. 

Mr.  Sartine,  the  Minister  of  the  French  Marine,  has  been 
lately  removed  from  the  administration  of  that  department. 
His  successor  is  the  Marquis  de  Castries,  who  is  held  out  to  us 
as  a  man  of  greater  activity,  and  from  whom  we  may  hope  for 
more  effectual  co-operation. 

An  Irish  paper  informs  us  that  Mr.  Laurens  was  committed 
to  the  Tower  on  the  6th  of  October,  by  the  three  Secretaries  of 
State,  on  suspicion  of  high  treason.  As  the  warrant,  with  the 
names  of  the  Secretaries  subscribed,  (with  some  other  particu 
lars,)  is  inserted,  no  hope  remains  of  the  fact  being  a  forgery. 

With  very  sincere  regard,  I  am,  Dr  sir,  your  obt  sert. 


PHILADELPHIA,  January  23,  1781. 

DEAR  SIR, — i  have  nothing  new  this  week  for  you  but  two 
reports  ;  the  first  is,  that  very  great  discontents  prevail  in  New 
York  among  the  German  troops,  for  causes  pretty  similar  to 
those  which  produced  the  eruption  in  the  Pennsylvania  line.  It 
is  further  said  on  this  head,  that  a  body  of  two  hundred  have 
deserted  from  Long  Island  and  gone  to  Rhode  Island.  The 
other  report  is,  that  the  British  minister  either  has  or  proposes 
to  carry  a  bill  into  Parliament  authorizing  the  commanding 
officer  in  America  to  permit  and  promote  a  trade  with  us  in 
British  goods  of  every  kind,  except  linens  and  woollens.  This 
change  of  system  is  said  to  be  the  advice  of  some  notable 
refugees,  with  a  view  to  revive  an  intercourse  as  far  as  possible 
between  the  two  countries,  and  particularly  to  check  the  habit 
that  is  taking  place  in  the  consumption  of  French  manufactures. 
Whatever  their  public  views  may  be,  it  is  certain  that  such  a 
plan  would  open  fine  prospects  to  them  in  a  private  view. 

We  have  received  no  fresh  or  certain  information  of  the 

42  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1781 

designs  of  F.  and  Spain  in  assembling  so  great  a  force  at  Ca 
diz.  There  does  not  appear  to  be  any  object  in  that  quarter 
except  Gibraltar.  Should  the  attempts  be  renewed  against 
that  place,  it  will  prove  that  the  former  has  not  that  absolute 
sway,  in  the  cabinet  of  the  latter  which  has  been  generally 
imagined.  Nothing  would  have  prevailed  on  the  French  to 
recall  their  fleet  from  the  islands  at  the  time  they  did,  but  the 
necessity  of  humoring  Spain  on  the  subject  of  her  hobby-horse. 
I  am  glad  to  hear  that  Arnold  has  been  at  last  fired  at.  It 
sounded  a  little  unfavorably  for  us  in  the  ears  of  people  here 
that  he  was  likely  to  get  off  without  that  proof  of  a  hostile 
reception.  If  he  ventures  an  irruption  in  any  other  quarter,  I 
hope  he  will  be  made  sensible  that  his  impunity  on  James  river 
was  owing  to  the  suddenness  of  his  appearance,  and  not  to  the 
want  of  spirit  in  the  people. 

I  am,  Dr  sir,  yours  sincerely. 


PHILADELPHIA,  Febry,  1781. 

DR  Sm, — I  have  your  favor  of  the  5th  instant  by  the  post. 
Col.  Harrison  arrived  here  yesterday,  and  as  he  mentions  no 
circumstance  which  indicated  an  intended  departure  of  the  ene 
my,  I  am  afraid  your  intelligence  on  that  subject  was  not  well 
founded.  Immediately  on  the  receipt  of  your  former  letter,  re 
lating  to  an  exchange  of  C.  Taylor,  I  applied  to  the  Admiralty 
Department,  and  if  such  a  step  can  be  brought  about  with 
propriety,  I  hope  he  will  be  gratified;  but  considering  the 
tenor  of  their  treatment  of  naval  prisoners,  and  the  resolutions 
with  which  it  has  inspired  Congress,  I  do  not  think  it  probable 
that  exchanges  will  go  on  easily;  and  if  this  were  less  the  case, 
a  mere  passenger,  under  the  indulgence,  too,  of  a  parole,  can 
scarcely  hope  to  be  preferred  to  such  as  are  suffering  the  utmost 
hardships,  and  even  made  prisoners  in  public  service. 

A  vessel  arrived  here  a  few  days  ago  from  Cadiz,  which 

1781.  LETTERS.  43 

brings  letters  of  as  late  date  as  the  last  of  December.  Those 
that  are  official  tell  us  that  England  is  making  the  most  strenu 
ous  exertions  for  the  current  year,  and  that  she  is  likely  to  be 
but  too  successful  in  the  great  article  of  money.  The  Parlia 
ment  have  voted  32,000  seamen;  and  a  considerable  land  rein 
forcement  for  their  southern  army  in  America  is  also  said  to  be 
in  preparation. 

Private  letters  by  the  same  conveyance  mention  that  the 
blockade  of  Gibraltar  is  going  on  with  alacrity,  and  that  the 
garrison  is  in  such  distress  as  flatters  the  hope  of  a  speedy 

If  Mr.  Pendleton,  your  nephew,  is  still  with  you,  be  pleased 
to  return  him  my  compliments. 

With  great  respect,  I  am,  Dr  sir,  your  obedient  servant. 


PHILADELPHIA,  May  1,  1781. 

DEAR  SIR, — A  letter  which  I  received  a  few  days  ago  from 
Mr.  Jefferson  gives  me  a  hope  that  he  will  lend  his  succor  in 
defending  the  title  of  Virginia.  He  professes  ignorance  of  the 
ground  on  which  the  report  of  the  committee  places  the  contro 
versy.  I  have  exhorted  him  not  to  drop  his  purpose,  and 
referred  him  to  you  as  a  source  of  copious  information  on  the 
subject.  I  wish  much  you  and  he  could  unite  your  ideas  on  it. 
Since  you  left  us  I  have  picked  up  several  pamphlets  which  had 
escaped  our  researches.  Among  them  are  the  examination  of 
the  Connecticut  claim,  and  the  charter  of  Georgia,  bound  up 
with  that  of  Maryland  and  four  others.  Presuming  that  a 
better  use  will  be  made  of  them,  I  will  send  them  by  Mr.  Jones, 
requesting,  however,  that  they  may  be  returned  by  the  hands  of 
him,  Doctor  Lee,  or  yourself,  as  the  case  may  be. 

44  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1781< 


PHILADELPHIA,  July  7,  1781. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, — I  have  received  two  copies  of  your  favor 
of  the  7th  of  December  last,  and  three  of  that  of  the  30th  of 
November  preceding.  Having  neglected  to  bring  with  me  from 
Virginia  the  cypher  concerted  between  you  and  the  Executive, 
I  still  remain  ignorant  of  the  paragraph  in  your  last  which  I 
suppose  the  best  worth  knowing. 

The  state  of  our  affairs  has  undergone  so  many  vicissitudes 
since  you  embarked  for  Europe,  and  I  can  so  little  judge  how 
far  you  may  have  had  intelligence  of  them,  that  I  am  at  a  loss 
where  I  ought  to  begin  my  narrative.  As  the  present  posture 
of  them  is  the  most  interesting,  I  shall  aim  at  nothing  further 
at  present  than  to  give  you  some  idea  of  that,  referring  to  past 
events  so  far  only  as  may  be  necessary  to  explain  it. 

The  insuperable  difficulties  which  opposed  a  general  conquest 
of  America  seemed  as  early  as  the  year  1779  to  have  been  felt 
by  the  enemy,  and  to  have  led  them  into  the  scheme  of  directing 
their  operations  and  views  against  the  Southern  States  only. 
Clinton  accordingly  removed  with  the  principal  part  of  his 
force  from  New  York  to  South  Carolina,  and  laid  siege  to 
Charleston,  which,  after  an  honorable  resistance,  was  compelled 
to  surrender  to  a  superiority  of  force.  Our  loss  in  men,  besides 
the  inhabitants  of  the  town,  was  not  less  than  two  thousand. 
Clinton  returned  to  New  York.  Cornwallis  was  left  witli 
about  five  thousand  troops  to  pursue  his  conquests.  General 
Gates  was  appointed  to  the  command  of  the  Southern  depart 
ment,  in  place  of  Lincoln,  who  commanded  in  Charleston  at  the 
time  of  its  capitulation.  He  met  Cornwallis  on  the  16th  of 
August,  1780,  near  Camden,  in  the  upper  part  of  South  Caro 
lina  and  on  the  border  of  North  Carolina.  A  general  action 
ensued,  in  which  the  American  troops  were  defeated  with  con 
siderable  loss,  though  not  without  making  the  enemy  pay  a 
good  price  for  their  victory.  Cornwallis  continued  his  progress 
into  North  Carolina,  but  afterwards  retreated  to  Camden. 
The  defeat  of  Gates  was  followed  by  so  general  a  clamor 

1781.  LETTERS.  45 

against  him,  that  it  was  judged  expedient  to  recall  him.  Greene 
was  sent  to  succeed  in  the  command.  About  the  time  of  his 
arrival  at  the  army,  Cornwallis,  having  been  reinforced  from 
New  York,  resumed  his  enterprise  into  North  Carolina.  A. 
detachment  of  his  best  troops  was  totally  defeated  by  Morgan 
with  an  inferior  number,  and  consisting  of  a  major  part  of  mil 
itia  detached  from  Greene's  army.  Five  hundred  were  made 
prisoners,  between  two  and  three  hundred  killed  and  wounded, 
and  about  the  like  number  escaped.  This  disaster,  instead  of 
checking  the  ardor  of  Cornwallis,  afforded  a  new  incentive  to  a 
rapid  advance,  in  the  hope  of  recovering  his  prisoners.  The 
vigilance  and  activity,  however,  of  Morgan,  secured  them. 
Cornwallis  continued  his  pursuit  as  far  as  the  Dan  river,  which 
divides  North  Carolina'  from  Virginia.  Greene,  whose  inferior 
force  obliged  him  to  recede  this  far  before  the  enemy,  received 
such  succors  of  militia  on  his  entering  Virginia  that  the  chase 
was  reversed.  Cornwallis,  in  his  turn,  retreated  precipitately. 
Greene  overtook  him  on  his  way  to  Wilmington,  and  attacked 
him.  Although  the  ground  was  lost  on  our  side,  the  British 
army  was  so  much  weakened  by  the  loss  of  five  or  six  hundred 
of  their  best  troops,  that  their  retreat  towards  Wilmington 
suffered  little  interruption.  Greene  pursued  as  long  as  any 
chance  of  reaching  his  prey  remained,  and  then,  leaving  Corn 
wallis  on  his  left,  took  an  oblique  direction  towards  Camden, 
which,  with  all  the  other  posts  in  South  Carolina  except 
Charleston  and  Ninety-Six,  have,  in  consequence,  fallen  again 
into  our  possession.  His  army  lay  before  the  latter  when  we 
last  heard  from  him.  It  contained  seven  or  eight  hundred  men 
and  large  quantities  of  stores.  It  is  nearly  two  hundred  miles 
from  Charleston,  and,  without  some  untoward  accident,  cannot 
fail  of  being  taken.  Greene  has  detachments  all  over  South 
Carolina,  some  of  them  within  a  little  distance  of  Charleston; 
and  the  resentments  of  the  people  against  their  late  insolent 
masters  ensure  him  all  the  aids  they  can  give  in  re-establishing 
the  American  Government  there.  Great  progress  is  also  ma 
king  in  the  redemption  of  Georgia. 

As  soon  as  Cornwallis  had  refreshed  his  troops  at  Wilming- 

4(5  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1781. 

ton,  abandoning  his  Southern  conquests  to  their  fate,  he  pushed 
forward  into  Virginia.  The  parricide  Arnold  had  a  detach 
ment  at  Portsmouth  when  he  lay  on  the  Dan;  Philips  had  rein 
forced  him  so  powerfully  from  New  York,  that  the  junction  of 
the  two  armies  at  Petersburg  could  not  be  prevented.  The 
whole  force  amounted  to  about  six  thousand  men.  The  force 
under  the  Marquis  De  La  Fayette,  who  commanded  in  Virginia, 
being  greatly  inferior,  did  not  oppose  them,  but  retreated  into 
Orange  and  Culpeper  in  order  to  meet  General  Wayne,  who 
was  on  his  way  from  Pennsylvania  to  join  him.  Cornwallis 
advanced  northward  as  far  as  Chesterfield,  in  the  county  of 
Caroline,  having  parties  at  the  same  time  at  Page's  warehouse 
and  other  places  in  its  vicinity.  A  party  of  horse,  commanded 
by  Tarleton,  was  sent  with  all  the  secrecy  and  celerity  possible 
to  surprise  and  take  the  General  Assembly  and  Executive  who 
had  retreated  from  Richmond  to  Charlottesville.  The  vigilance 
of  a  young  gentleman  who  discovered  the  design  and  rode  ex 
press  to  Charlottesville  prevented  a  complete  surprise.  As  it 
was,  several  Delegates  were  caught,  and  the  rest  were  within 
an  hour  of  sharing  the  same  fate.  Among  the  captives  was 
Colonel  Lyon  of  Hanover.  Mr.  Kinlock,  a  member  of  Con 
gress  from  South  Carolina,  was  also  caught  at  Mr.  John 
Walker's,  whose  daughter  he  had  married  some  time  before. 
Governor  Jefferson  had  a  very  narrow  escape.  The  members 
of  the  Government  rendezvoused  at  Stanton,  where  they  soon 
made  a  House.  Mr.  Jefferson's  year  having  expired,  he  declined 
a  re-election,  and  General  Nelson  has  taken  his  place.  Tarle- 
ton's  party  retreated  with  as  much  celerity  as  it  had  advanced. 
On  the  junction  of  Wayne  with  the  Marquis  and  the  arrival  of 
militia,  the  latter  faced  about  and  advanced  rapidly  on  Corn 
wallis,  who  retreated  to  Richmond,  and  thence  precipitately  to 
Williamsburg,  where  he  lay  on  the  27th  ultimo.  The  Marquis 
pursued,  and  was  at  the  same  time  within  twenty  miles  of  that 
place.  One  of  his  advanced  parties  had  had  a  successful  skir 
mish  within  six  miles  of  Williamsburg.  Bellini  has,  I  under 
stand,  abided  patiently  in  the  college  the  dangers  and  incon 
veniences  of  such  a  situation.  I  do  not  hear  that  the  consequences 

1781.  LETTERS.  47 

have  condemned  the  experiment.  Such  is  the  present  state  of 
the  war  in  the  Southern  Department.  In  the  Northern,  the 
operations  have  been  for  a  considerable  time  in  a  manner  sus 
pended.  At  present,  a  vigorous  siege  of  New  York  by  General 
Washington's  army,  aided  by  five  or  six  thousand  French  troops 
under  Count  De  Rochambeau,  is  in  contemplation,  and  will  soon 
commence.  As  the  English  have  the  command  of  the  water, 
the  result  of  such  an  enterprise  must  be  very  uncertain.  It  is 
supposed,  however,  that  it  will  certainly  oblige  the  enemy  to 
withdraw  their  force  from  the  Southern  States,  which  may  be  a 
more  convenient  mode  of  relieving  them  than  by  marching  the 
troops  from  New  York  at  this  season  of  the  year  to  the  south 
ward.  On  the  whole,  the  probable  conclusion  of  this  campaign 
is,  at  this  juncture,  very  flattering,  the  enemy  being  on  the 
defensive  in  every  quarter. 

The  vicissitudes  which  our  finances  have  undergone  are  as 
great  as  those  of  the  war,  the  depreciation  of  the  old  conti 
nental  bills  having  arrived  at  forty,  fifty,  and  sixty  for  one. 
Congress,  on  the  18th  of  March,  1780,  resolved  to  displace 
them  entirely  from  circulation,  and  substitute  another  currency, 
to  be  issued  on  better  funds,  and  redeemable  at  a  shorter  period. 
For  this  purpose,  they  fixed  the  relative  value  of  paper  and 
specie  at  forty  for  one;  directed  the  States  to  sink  by  taxes  the 
whole  two  hundred  millions  in  one  year,  and  to  provide  proper 
funds  for  sinking  in  six  years  a  new  currency  which  was  not 
to  exceed  ten  millions  of  dollars,  which  was  redeemable  within 
that  period,  and  to  bear  an  interest  of  five  per  cent.,  payable  in 
bills  of  exchange  on  Europe  or  hard  money.  The  loan-office 
certificates  granted  by  Congress  are  to  be  discharged  at  the 
value  of  the  money  at  the  time  of  the  loan;  a  scale  of  depre 
ciation  being  fixed  by  Congress  for  that  purpose.  This  scheme 
has  not  yet  been  carried  into  full  execution.  The  old  bills  are 
still  unredeemed,  in  part,  in  some  of  the  States,  where  they  have 
depreciated  to  two,  three,  and  four  hundred  for  one.  The  new 
bills,  which  were  to  be  issued  only  as  the  old  ones  were  taken 
in,  are  consequently  in  a  great  degree  still  unissued;  and  the 
depreciation  which  they  have  already  suffered  has  determined 

48  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178L 

Congress  and  the  States  to  issue  as  few  more  of  them  as  possi 
ble.  We  seem  to  have  pursued  our  paper  projects  as  far  as 
prudence  will  warrant.  Our  medium  in  future  will  be  princi 
pally  specie.  The  States  are  already  levying  taxes  in  it.  As 
the  paper  disappears,  the  hard  money  comes  forward  into  circu 
lation.  This  revolution  will  also  be  greatly  facilitated  by  the 
influx  of  Spanish  dollars  from  the  Havannah,  where  the  Spanish 
/orces  employed  against  the  Floridas  *  consume  immense  quan 
tities  of  our  flour,  and  remit  their  dollars  in  payment.  We 
also  receive  considerable  assistance  from  the  direct  aids  of  our 
ally,  and  from  the  money  expended  among  us  by  his  auxiliary 
troops.  These  advantages,  as  they  have  been  and  are  likely  to 
be  improved  by  the  skill  of  Mr.  Robert  Morris,  whom  we  have 
constituted  minister  of  our  finances,  afford  a  more  flattering 
prospect  in  this  department  of  our  affairs  than  has  existed  at 
any  period  of  the  war. 

The  great  advantage  the  enemy  have  over  us  lies  in  the 
superiority  of  their  navy,  which  enables  them  continually  to 
shift  the  war  into  defenceless  places,  and  to  weary  out  our 
troops  by  long  marches.  The  squadron  sent  by  our  ally  to  our 
support  did  not  arrive  till  a  reinforcement  on  the  part  of  the 
enemy  had  counteracted  their  views.  They  have  been  almost 
constantly  blocked  up  at  Rhode  Island  by  the  British  fleet. 
The  effects  of  a  hurricane  in  the  last  spring  on  the  latter  gave 
a  temporary  advantage  to  the  former,  but  circumstances  delayed 
the  improvement  of  it  till  the  critical  season  was  past.  Mr. 
Destouches,  who  commanded  the  French  fleet,  nevertheless 
hazarded  an  expedition  into  Chesapeake  bay.  The  object  of  it 
was  to  co-operate  with  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette  in  an  attack 
against  Arnold,  who  lay  at  Portsmouth  with  about  fifteen  hun 
dred  British  troops.  Had  he  got  into  the  bay,  and  taken  a 
favorable  station,  the  event  would  certainly  have  been  adequate 
to  our  hopes.  Unfortunately,  the  British  fleet,  which  followed 
the  French  immediately  from  Rhode  Island,  reached  the  capes 
of  Virginia  first.  On  the  arrival  of  the  latter,  a  regular  and 

*  They  have  lately  taken  West  Florida  with  a  garrison  of  1,500  troops. 

1781.  LETTERS.  49 

fair  combat  took  place.  It  lasted  for  several  hours,  and  ended 
rather  in  favor  of  our  allies.  As  the  enemy,  however,  were 
nearest  the  capes,  and  one  of  the  French  ships  had  lost  hei 
rudder,  and  was  otherwise  much  damaged,  the  commander 
thought  it  best  to  relinquish  his  object,  and  return  to  his  former 
station.  The  damage  sustained  by  the  enemy,  according  to 
their  own  representation,  exceeded  that  of  the  French;  and  as 
their  number  of  ships  and  weight  of  metal  were  both  superior, 
it  does  great  honor  to  the  gallantry  and  good  conduct  of  Mr. 
Destouches.  Congress,  and  indeed  the  public  at  large,  were  so 
sensible  of  this,  that  their  particular  thanks  were  given  him  on 
the  occasion. 

No  description  can  give  you  an  adequate  idea  of  the  barbarity 
with  which  the  enemy  have  conducted  the  war  in  the  Southern 
States.  Every  outrage  which  humanity  could  suffer  has  been 
committed  by  them.  Desolation  rather  than  conquest  seems  to 
have  been  their  object.  They  have  acted  more  like  desperate 
bands  of  robbers  or  buccaneers  than  like  a  nation  making  war 
for  dominion.  Negroes,  horses,  tobacco,  <fcc.,  not  the  standards 
and  arms  of  their  antagonists,  are  the  trophies  which  display 
their  success.  Eapes,  murders,  and  the  whole  catalogue  of 
individual  cruelties,  not  protection  and  the  distribution  of 
justice,  are  the  acts  which  characterize  the  sphere  of  their 
usurped  jurisdiction.  The  advantage  we  derive  from  such  pro 
ceedings  would,  if  it  were  purchased  on  other  terms  than  the 
distresses  of  our  citizens,  fully  compensate  for  the  injury  accru 
ing  to  the  public.  They  are  a  daily  lesson  to  the  people  of  the 
United  States  of  the  necessity  of  perseverance  in  the  contest; 
and  wherever  the  pressure  of  their  local  tyranny  is  removed, 
the  subjects  of  it  rise  up  as  one  man  to  avenge  their  wrongs 
and  prevent  a  repetition  of  them.  Those  who  have  possessed 
a  latent  partiality  for  them,  as  their  resentment  is  embittered 
by  their  disappointment,  generally  feel  most  sensibly  their 
injuries  and  insults,  and  are  the  foremost  in  retaliating  them. 
It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  these  things  are  so  little  known 
in  Europe.  Were  they  published  to  the  world  in  their  true 
colors,  the  British  nation  would  be  hated  by  all  nations  as  much 

VOL.  i.  4 

50  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  i7S1. 

as  they  have  heretofore  been  feared  by  any,  and  all  nations 
would  be  sensible  of  the  policy  of  abridging  a  power  which 
nothing  else  can  prevent  the  abuse  of. 


PHILADELPHIA,  August  1,  1781. 

We  have  heard  little  of  late  from  Europe,  except  that  the 
mediation  proffered  by  Russia  in  the  dispute  between  England 
and  Holland  has  been  referred  by  the  former  to  the  general 
pacification,  in  which  the  mediation  of  the  Emperor  will  be 
joined  with  that  of  Russia.  As  this  step  is  not  very  respectful 
to  Russia,  it  can  only  proceed  from  a  distrust  of  her  friendship, 
and  the  hopes  entertained  by  Britain  as  to  the  issue  of  the  cam 
paign,  which,  as  you  will  see  in  an  intercepted  letter  from  Ger- 
maine  to  Clinton,  were  extravagantly  sanguine.  We  have  no 
late  intelligence  from  the  West  Indies.  General  Washington 
is  going  on  with  his  preparations  and  operations  against  New 
York.  What  the  result  will  be  can  be  decided  by  time  alone. 
We  hope  they  will  at  least  withdraw  some  of  the  invaders  from 
Virginia.  The  French  fleet  is  still  at  Rhode  Island.  The 
British,  it  is  reported,  has  lately  left  the  Hook. 

August  2. — Information  has  been  received  from  New  York, 
through  a  channel  which  is  thought  a  good  one,  that  orders  are 
gone  to  Virginia  for  a  large  part  of  the  troops  under  Corn- 
wallis  immediately  to  sail  for  that  place.  Should  this  be  well 
founded,  the  execution  of  the  orders  will  announce  it  to  you. 
Among  other  advantages  attending  an  evacuation  of  Virginia, 
it  will  not  be  the  least  that  the  communication  with  this  place 
by  the  bay  will  supply  the  State  with  many  necessary  articles 
which  are  now  transported  by  land  at  so  much  expense,  and 
will  enable  you  to  pay  for  them  easier  by  raising  the  price  of 
your  commodities.  It  gives  me  pain  to  hear  that  so  many  of 
the  people  have  incautiously  sold,  or  rather  given  away,  their 
tobacco  to  speculators,  when  it  was  in  no  danger  from  the 
enemy.  The  destruction  of  that  article,  which  alarmed  them, 

1781.  LETTERS.  51 

was  an  obvious  cause  of  its  future  rise,  and  a  reason  for  their 
retaining  it  till  the  alarm  should  be  over.  Goods  of  all  kinds, 
particularly  dry  goods,  are  rising  here  already.  Salt,  in  par 
ticular,  has  risen  within  a  few  days  from  two  dollars  to  a  guinea 
per  bushel. 


PHILA,  September  18,  1781. 

DEAR  Sm, — I  was  yesterday  favored  with  yours  of  the  10th 
instant.  The  various  reports  arrived  of  late  from  the  Chesa 
peake  prepared  us  for  a  confirmation  from  our  correspondents 
of  a  fortunate  rencontre  between  the  two  fleets.  A  continua 
tion  of  these  reports,  although  unsupported  by  any  authentic 
evidence,  still  keeps  up  the  public  anxiety.  We  have  not  heard 
a  word  of  De  Banes.  The  arrival  of  Digby  is  far  from  being 
certain,  and  the  circulating  reports  have  reduced  his  force  to 
six  ships  of  the  line.  The  preparations  at  New  York  for  some 
movement  are  pretty  well  attested.  The  conjectures  of  many 
are  directing  it  against  this  city,  as  the  most  practicable  and 
important  object  within  the  reach  of  Clinton.  The  successful 
blow  struck  by  the  parricide  Arnold  against  the  town  of  New 
London  is  described,  as  far  as  the  particulars  are  known  here, 
in  the  enclosed  Gazette.  There  have  been  several  arrivals  of 
late  from  Europe  with  very  little  intelligence  of  any  kind,  and 
with  none  from  official  sources.  It  all  relates  to  the  junction 
of  the  French  and  Spanish  fleets,  for  the  purpose  of  renewing 
the  investiture  of  Gibraltar,  and  enterprising  something  against 
Minorca.  Thus  the  selfish  projects  of  Spain  not  only  withhold 
from  us  the  co-operation  of  their  armaments,  but  divert  in  part 
that  of  our  allies;  and  yet  we  are  to  reward  her  with  a  cession 
of  what  constitutes  the  value  of  the  finest  part  of  America. 

General  Washington  and  the  Count  de  Rochambeau,  with 
the  forces  under  them,  have,  I  presume,  by  this  time,  got  within 
Virginia.  This  revolution  in  our  military  plan  cannot  fail  to 
produce  great  advantages  to  the  Southern  department,  and  par- 

52  WORKS    OF     MADISON.  1781. 

ticularly  to  Virginia,  even  if  the  immediate  object  of  it  should 
be  unexpectedly  frustrated.  The  presence  of  the  Commander- 
in-chief,  with  the  proportion  of  our  force  which  will  always 
attend  him,  will  better  protect  the  country  against  the  depreda 
tions  of  the  enemy,  although  he  should  be  followed  by  troops 
from  New  York  which  would  otherwise  remain  there,  than  it 
has  hitherto  been;  will  leave  the  militia  more  at  leisure  to  pur 
sue  their  occupations,  at  the  same  time  that  the  demands  of  the 
armies  will  afford  a  sure  market  for  the  surplus  provisions  of 
the  country;  will  diffuse  among  them  a  share  of  the  gold  and 
silver  of  our  ally,  and,  I  may  now  say,  of  our  own,  of  which 
their  Northern  brethren  have  hitherto  had  a  monopoly,  which 
will  be  peculiarly  grateful  to  them  after  having  been  so  long 
gorged  with  depreciating  paper;  and  as  we  may  suppose  that 
the  ships  of  our  ally  allotted  for  our  service  will,  so  long  as  his 
troops  remain  in  the  United  States,  be  kept  in  the  Chesapeake, 
it  will  revive  the  trade  through  that  channel,  reduce  the  price 
of  imported  necessaries,  and  raise  the  staple  of  the  country  once 
more  to  its  proper  value. 

I  am,  Dr  Sir,  your  sincere  friend,  and  obt  servt. 


PHILA,  October  2,  1781. 

DEAE  SIR, — Yours  of  24th  ultimo  came  safe  by  yesterday's 
post.  In  addition  to  the  paper  of  this  day,  I  enclose  you  two 
of  the  preceding  week,  in  one  of  which  you  will  find  a  very 
entertaining  and  interesting  speech  of  Mr.  Fox,  and  in  the  other, 
a  handsome  forensic  discussion  of  a  case  important  in  itself, 
and  which  has  some  relation  to  the  State  of  Virginia. 

Our  intelligence  from  N.  York  through  several  channels  con 
firms  the  sufferings  of  the  British  fleet  from  their  rash  visit  to 
the  capes  of  the  Chesapeake.  The  troops  which  were  kept  in 
transports  to  await  that  event  have,  since  the  return  of  the 
fleet,  been  put  on  shore  on  Staten  Island.  This  circumstance 

1781.  LETTERS.  53 

has  been  construed  into  a  preliminary  to  an  expedition  to  this 
city,  which  had  revived,  till  within  a  few  days,  the  preparations 
for  a  militia  opposition,  but  is  better  explained  by  the  raging 
of  a  malignant  fever  in  the  city  of  N.  York.  Digby,  we  hear, 
is  now  certainly  arrived,  but  with  three  ships  of  the  line  only. 
It  is  given  out  that  three  men  with  a  large  number  of  transports 
came  with  him,  and  that  they  only  lay  back  till  it  was  known 
whether  they  could  proceed  to  N.  Y.  with  safety.  This  is  not 
improbably  suspected  to  be  a  trick  to  palliate  the  disappoint 
ment  and  to  buoy  up  the  sinking  hopes  of  their  adherents,  the 
most  staunch  of  whom  give  up  Lord  Cornwallis  as  irretrieva 
bly  lost. 

We  have  received  some  communications  from  Europe  relative 
to  the  general  state  of  its  affairs.  They  all  centre  in  three 
important  points.  The  first  is  the  obstinacy  of  Great  Britain; 
the  second,  the  fidelity  of  our  ally;  and  the  third,  the  absolute 
necessity  of  vigorous  and  systematic  preparations  for  war  on 
our  part,  in  order  to  insure  a  speedy,  as  well  as  favorable 
peace.  The  wisdom  of  the  Legislature  of  Virginia  will,  I  flatter 
myself,  not  only  prevent  an  illusion  from  the  present  brilliant 
prospects,  but  take  advantage  of  the  military  ardor  and  san 
guine  hopes  of  the  people  to  recruit  their  line  for  the  war.  The 
introduction  of  specie  will  also,  I  hope,  be  made  subservient  to 
some  salutary  operations  in  their  finances.  Another  great 
object,  which,  in  my  opinion,  claims  an  immediate  attention 
from  them,  is  some  liberal  provision  for  extending  the  benefits 
of  government  to  the  distant  parts  of  the  State.  I  am  not  able 
to  see  why  this  cannot  be  done  so  as  fully  to  satisfy  the  exigen 
cies  of  the  people,  and  at  the  same  time  preserve  the  idea  of 
unity  in  the  State.  Any  plan  which  divides  in  any  manner  the 
sovereignty  may  be  dangerous,  and  precipitate  an  evil  which 
ought,  and  may  at  least,  be  long  procrastinated.  The  adminis 
tration  of  justice,  which  is  the  capital  branch,  may  certainly  be 
diffused  sufficiently,  and  kept  in  due  subordination  in  every  part 
to  one  supreme  tribunal.  Separate  boards  for  crediting  [audit 
ing?]  accounts  may  also  be  admitted  with  safety  and  propriety. 
The  same  as  to  a  separate  depository  for  the  taxes,  &c.,  and  as 

54  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1781, 

to  a  land  office.  The  military  powers  of  the  Executive  may  well 
be  intrusted  to  militia  officers  of  rank,  as  far  as  the  defence  of 
the  country  and  the  custody  of  military  stores  make  it  neces 
sary.  A  complete  organization  of  the  militia,  in  which  general 
officers  would  be  erected, would  greatly  facilitate  this  part  of  the 
plan.  Such  an  one,  with  a  council  of  field  officers,  might  exer 
cise,  without  encroaching  on  the  constitutional  powers  of  the 
supreme  Executive,  all  the  powers  over  the  militia  which  any 
emergency  could  demand. 

I  am,  Dr  Sir,  yours  sincerely. 


PHILA?  Oct.  9.  1781. 

DEAR  SIR, — Having  sent  you  the  arguments  on  one  side  of 
the  judiciary  question  relating  to  the  property  of  Virginia 
seized  by  Mr.  Nathan,  it  is  but  reasonable  that  you  should  see 
what  was  contended  on  the  other  side.  With  this  view,  although 
I  in  some  measure  usurp  the  task  of  Mr.  Jones,  I  enclose  the 
paper  of  Wednesday  last.  As  it  may  escape  Mr.  Jones,  I  also 
enclose  a  copy  of  Mr.  Adams's  memorial  to  the  States  general. 
I  wish  I  could  have  informed  you  of  its  being  lodged  in  the 
archives  of  their  High  Mightinesses  instead  of  presenting  it  to 
you  in  print. 

I  am,  Dr  Sir,  ys  affectionately. 

(In  answer  to  Mr.  P's,  Sth  Oct.) 

PHILA,  Oct.  16thf  1781. 

DEAR  SIR, — When  you  get  a  sight  of  the  resolution  of  the 
General  Assembly,  referred  to  in  your  favor  of  the  8th,  you 
will  readily  judge  from  the  tenor  of  it  what  steps  would  be 
taken  by  the  Delegates.  It  necessarily  submitted  the  fate  of 

1781.  LETTERS.  55 

the  object  in  question  to  the  discretion  and  prospects  of  the 
gentleman  whom  reports,  it  seems,  have  arraigned  to  you,  but 
who,  I  am  bound  in  justice  to  testify,  has  entirely  supported  the 
character  which  he  formerly  held  with  you.*  I  am  somewhat 
surprised  that  you  never  had  before  known  of  the  Resolution 
just  mentioned,  especially  as,  what  is  indeed  much  more  sur 
prising,  it  was  both  debated  and  passed  with  open  doors  and  a 
full  gallery.  This  circumstance  alone  must  have  defeated  any 
reservations  attached  to  it. 

The  N.  York  papers  and  the  intelligence  from  thence  make  it 
evident  that  they  have  no  hope  of  relieving  Cornwallis,  unless 
it  can  be  effected  by  some  desperate  naval  experiment,  and  that 
such  an  one  will  be  made.  Their  force  will  probably  amount 
to  twenty-six  sail  of  the  line,  and  if  we  are  not  misinformed  as 
to  the  late  arrival  of  three  ships  of  the  line,  to  twenty-nine  sail. 
The  superiority  still  remaining  on  the  part  of  our  allies,  and  the 
repeated  proofs  given  of  their  skill  and  bravery  on  the  water, 
forbid  any  apprehension  of  danger.  At  the  same  time,  we  can 
not  help  calculating  that  every  addition  to  the  British  force 
proportionally  diminishes  the  certainty  of  success.  A  fleet  of 

provisions  amounting  to  about sail,  convoyed  by  a 

forty-four  and  two  frigates,  have  arrived  at  N.  Y.  within  the 
week  past. 

Having  sent  all  the  papers  containing  the  proceedings  on  the 
case  of  Mr.  N.  against  Virga,  as  they  came  out,  I  shall,  to  com 
plete  your  view  of  it,  add  the  last  effort  in  his  favor  published 
in  the  enclosed  No.  of  the  Freeman's  Journal.  I  am  told,  how 
ever,  that  the  publisher  ought  to  have  subjoined  that  the  Privy 
Council  interposed,  and  directed  restitution  of  the  King  of 
Spain's  effects. 

I  am,  Dr  Sir,  yrs  affly. 

*  Mr.  Jay,  Minister  to  Spain. 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1781. 


PHILA,  Nov.  27th,  1781. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  19th  inst.  came  to  hand  yes 
terday.  On  the  same  evening  arrived  our  illustrious  general, 
returning  to  his  position  on  the  North  river.  We  shall  prob 
ably,  however,  have  his  company  here  for  some  days  at  least, 
where  he  will  be  able  to  give  Congress  very  seasonable  aid  in 
settling  the  military  establishment  for  the  next  year,  about 
which  there  is  some  diversity  of  opinion.  Whatever  the  total 
requisition  of  men  may  be  on  the  States,  I  cannot  but  wish  that 
Virginia  may  take  effectual  measures  for  bringing  into  the  field 
her  proportion  of  men.  One  reason  for  this  wish  is  the  calum 
nies  which  her  enemies  ground  on  her  present  deficiency ;  but 
the  principal  one  is  the  influence  that  such  an  exertion  may 
have  in  preventing  insults  and  aggressions,  from  whatever 
quarter  they  may  be  meditated,  by  shewing  that  we  are  able  to 
defy  them. 

The  Delegates  have  lately  transmitted  to  the  Governor,  for 
the  Assembly,  all  the  proceedings  which  have  taken  place  on 
the  subject  of  the  Territorial  cessions.  The  tenor  of  them,  and 
the  reception  given  them  by  the  Assembly,  will,  I  doubt  not,  be 
communicated  to  you  by  some  of  your  correspondents  in  it. 

There  is  pretty  good  reason  to  believe  that  a  descent  on 
Minorca  has  actually  taken  place.  It  is  a  little  problematical 
with  me  whether  successes  against  Great  Britain  in  any  other 
(juarter  except  America  tend  much  to  hasten  a  peace.  If  they 
increase  her  general  distress,  they  at  the  same  time  increase 
those  demands  against  her  which  are  likely  to  impede  negotia 
tions,  and  her  hopes  from  the  sympathy  of  other  powers.  They 
are  favorable  to  us,  however,  in  making  it  more  the  interest  of 
all  the  belligerent  powers  to  reject  the  uti  possidetis  as  the 
basis  of  a  pacification. 

The  report  of  Rodney's  capture  never  deserved  the  attention, 
it  seems,  which  was  given  to  it. 

I  am,  Dr  Sir,  yrs  sincerely. 

1781.  LETTEES.  57 


PHIL.,  Dec.  llth,  1781. 

DR  SIR, — I  am  favored  with  yours  of  the  3d  instant.  Other 
letters  by  the  same  conveyance  confirm  your  report  of  the  elec 
tion  of  Mr.  Harrison  to  the  chief  magistracy.  Several  other 
appointments  are  mentioned  which  I  make  no  doubt  are  all 
well  known  to  you. 

On  whichever  side  Mr.  Deane's  letters  are  viewed,  they  pre 
sent  mysteries.  Whether  they  be  supposed  genuine  or  spurious, 
or  a  mixture  of  both,  difficulties  which  cannot  well  be  answered 
may  be  started.  There  are,  however,  passages  in  some  of  them 
which  can  scarcely  be  imputed  to  any  other  hand.  But  it  is 
unnecessary  to  rely  on  these  publications  for  the  real  character 
of  the  man.  There  is  evidence  of  his  obliquity  which  has  for  a 
considerable  time  been  conclusive. 

Congress  have  not  resumed  their  proceedings  on  the  Western 
business.  They  have  agreed  on  a  requisition  on  the  States  for 
8,000,000  of  dollars,  and  a  completion  of  their  lines  according 
to  the  last  establishment  of  the  army.  We  endeavored,  though 
with  very  little  effect,  to  obtain  deductions  in  the  first  article 
from  the  quota  of  Virginia,  but  we  did  not  oppose  the  aggregate 
of  the  demand  in  either.  If  we  do  not  obtain  a  sufficiency  of 
men  and  money  from  the  States  by  regular  and  duly-appointed 
calls,  we  know  by  experience  that  the  burden  of  the  war  will 
fall  on  the  resources  of  the  States  which  happen  to  be  the  sub 
ject  of  it. 

Mr.  Moore,  late  Vice  President,  has  been  elected  President  of 
this  State  in  place  of  Mr.  Reed,  whose  period  of  eligibility  was 

I  am,  dr  sir,  yours. 

58  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 


PHILA,  Dec.  25th,  1781. 

DEAR  SIR, — You  only  do  me  justice  in  ascribing  your  dis 
appointment  in  the  part  of  the  week  preceding  your  favor  of 
the  16th  instant  to  some  other  cause  than  my  neglect.  If  I 
were  less  disposed  to  punctuality,  your  example  would  preserve 
me  from  transgressing  it.  As  the  last  letter  went  to  the  post- 
office  here,  and  you  did  not  receive  it  from  the  post  in  Virginia, 
the  delinquency  must  have  happened  in  that  line.  It  is,  how 
ever,  I  believe,  of  little  consequence,  as  I  do  not  recollect  that 
anything  material  has  been  contained  in  my  letters  for  several 
weeks,  any  more  than  there  will  be  in  this,  in  which  I  have 
little  else  to  say  than  to  tender  you  the  compliments  of  the  day. 
Perhaps,  indeed,  it  will  be  new  to  you  what  appeared  here  in  a 
paper  several  days  ago,  that  the  success  of  Commodore  John- 
stone  in  taking  five  Dutch  East  Indiamen,  homeward  bound, 
and  destroying  a  sixth,  is  confirmed.  Whatever  may  be  thought 
of  this  stroke  of  fortune  by  him  and  his  rapacious  crew,  the 
Ministry  will  hardly  think  it  a  compensation  to  the  public  for 
the  danger  to  which  the  remains  of  their  possessions  in  the  East 
will  be  exposed  by  the  failure  of  his  expedition. 

It  gives  me  great  pleasure  to  hear  of  the  honorable  acquittal 
of  Mr.  Jefferson.  I  know  his  abilities,  and  I  think  I  know  his 
fidelity  and  zeal  for  his  country  so  well,  that  I  am  persuaded  it 
was  a  just  one.  We  are  impatient  to  know  whether  he  will 
undertake  the  new  service  to  which  he  is  called. 
I  am,  Dr  Sir,  yrs  affectionately. 


Feb.  12th,  1782. 

The  disappointment  in  forwarding  the  money  by  Mr.  Brown- 
low  has  been  sorely  felt  by  me,  and  the  more  so  as  the  Legisla- 

1782.  LETTERS.  59 

ture  has  made  no  provision  for  the  subsistence  of  the  Delegates 
that  can  be  relied  on.  I  hope  some  opportunity  will  soon  put  it 
in  your  power  to  renew  the  attempt  to  transmit  it,  and  that  the 
delay  will  have  made  considerable  addition  to  it.  Besides  the 
necessity  of  this  supply  for  the  common  occasions,  I  have  fre 
quent  opportunities  here  of  purchasing  many  scarce  and  neces 
sary  books  at  a  fourth  of  the  price  which,  if  to  be  had  at  all, 
they  will  hereafter  cost  me.  If  an  immediate  conveyance  does 
not  present  itself  for  the  cash,  I  would  recommend  that  a  bill 
of  exchange  on  some  merchant  here  be  got  of  Mr.  Hunter,  Mr. 
Maury,  or  other  respectable  merchant,  and  forwarded  by  the 
post.  This  is  a  safer  method  than  the  first,  and  I  make  no 
doubt  is  very  practicable.  I  wish,  at  all  events,  the  trial  to  be 
made,  and  that  speedily. 

I  recollect  nothing  new  which  is  not  contained  in  some  of  the 
late  papers. 

Present  my  affectionate  regards  to  all  the  family.    I  have  not 
time  to  add  more  than  that  I  am, 
Your  dutiful  son. 


PHILADELPHIA,  March  30th.  1782. 

HOND  SIR, — The  newspapers  will  give  you  in  general  the  in 
telligence  we  have  from  Europe.  As  far  as  we  are  enabled  to 
judge  of  the  views  of  the  British  Cabinet,  the  misfortunes  of 
one  more  campaign,  at  least,  will  be  necessary  to  conquer  their 
obstinacy.  They  are  attempting  a  separate  peace  with  the 
Dutch,  and  talk  of  suspending  their  offensive  war  against  us, 
and  directing  their  whole  resources  against  the  naval  power  of 
France  and  Spain.  If  this  be  their  real  plan,  we  may  be  sure 
they  do  mean  by  it  not  to  abandon  their  pretensions  to  the 
United  States,  but  try  another  mode  for  recovering  them.  Dur 
ing  their  offensive  exertions  against  our  Ally,  they  can  be  prac 
ticing  insidious  ones  against  us;  and  if  in  the  first  they  should 

60  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1782. 

be  successful,  and  in  the  latter  disappointed,  a  renewal  of  a 
vigorous  war  upon  us  will  certainly  take  place.  The  best 
security  against  every  artifice  and  every  event  will  be  such 
military  preparations  on  our  part  as  will  be  sufficient  either  to 
resist  or  expel  them,  as  the  case  may  require. 


PHILADELPHIA,  May  20th,  1782. 

HOND  SIR, — Having  written  a  letter  and  enclosed  it  with 
a  large  collection  of  newspapers  for  you,  which  was  to  have 
been  carried  by  Mr.  J.  Smith,  but  which  I  have  now  put  into 
the  hands  of  Captain  Walker,  whose  return  will  be  quicker, 
little  remains  for  me  to  add  here. 

Our  anxiety  on  account  of  the  West  India  news,  published  at 
New  York,  is  still  supported  by  contradictory  reports  and  con 
jectures.  The  account,  however,  to  which  Rodney's  name  is 
prefixed,  renders  our  apprehensions  too  strong  for  our  hopes. 
Rivington  has  been  very  bold  in  several  of  his  spurious  publica 
tions,  and  at  this  conjuncture  might  venture  as  far  to  serve  a 
particular  turn  as  at  any.  But  it  is  scarcely  credible  that  he 
would  dare  or  be  permitted  to  sport  with  so  high  an  official 

If  Mr.  Jefferson  will  be  so  obliging  as  to  superintend  the 
legal  studies  of  William,  I  think  he  cannot  do  better  than  pro 
secute  the  plan  he  has  adopted.  The  interruption  occasioned 
by  the  election*  of  Mr.  J.,  although  inconvenient  in  that  respect, 
is  by  no  means  a  decisive  objection  against  it. 

I  did  not  know  before  that  the  letters  which  Mr.  Walker  was 
to  have  carried  last  fall  had  met  with  the  fate  which  it  seems 
they  did.  I  shall  be  more  cautious  hereafter.  The  papers 
missing  in  your  list  were,  I  presume,  for  I  do  not  recollect,  con 
tained  in  them. 

If  Continental  money  passes  here  at  all,  it  is  in  a  very  small 

*  Mr.  Jefferson  had  just  been  elected  to  the  Legislature  of  the  State  from  the 
county  of  Albemarle. 

1783.  LETTERS.  Q\ 

quantity,  at  very  great  discount,  and  merely  to  serve  particular 
local  and  temporary  ends. 

It  lias  at  no  time  been  more  difficult  for  me  to  fix  my  probable 
return  to  Virginia.  At  present  all  my  colleagues  have  left 
Congress  except  Colonel  Bland,  and  it  is  a  crisis  which  calls 
for  a  full  representation  from  every  State.  Anxious  as  I  am  to 
visit  my  friends,  as  long  as  I  sustain  a  public  trust  I  shall  feel  a 
principle  which  is  superior  to  it. 


Jan.  1st,  1783. 

HoxDSm—  *  *  *  *  *  * 
The  negotiations  for  peace  are  said  to  be  going  on  under  the 
late  commission  to  Mr.  Oswald,  which  authorizes  him  to  treat 
with  commissioners  from  the  thirteen  United  States.  Mr.  Jeffer 
son  will  depart  in  a  little  time,  in  order  to  give  his  aid  in  case 
it  be  in  season.  The  insidiousness  and  instability  of  the  British 
Cabinet  forbid  us  to  be  sanguine,  especially  as  the  relief  of 
Gibraltar  was  posterior  to  Oswald's  commission,  and  the  in 
terests  to  be  adjusted  among  the  belligerent  parties  are  ex 
tremely  complicated. 

I  am,  with  great  affection,  your  dutiful  son. 


PHILADELPHIA,  Feb.  12th,  1783. 
HON'Sm—  *          *          *          *          *          * 

I  readily  suppose,  from  the  reports  prevalent  here,  that  some 
information  on  the  subject  of  peace  will  be  expected,  and  I  wish 
it  were  in  my  power  to  gratify  you.  The  truth  is,  we  are  in 
nearly  as  great  uncertainty  here  as  you  can  be.  Every  day, 
almost,  brings  forth  some  fresh  rumor,  but  it  is  so  mingled  with 
mercantile  speculations  that  little  faith  is  excited.  The  most 
favorable  evidence  on  the  side  of  peace  seems  to  be  a  material 

62  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1783. 

fall  in  the  price  of  imported  goods;  which,  considering  the 
sagacity  and  good  intelligence  of  merchants,  is  a  circumstance 
by  no  means  to  be  despised.  A  little  time  will  probably  decide 
in  the  case,  when  I  shall  follow  this  with  something  more  satis 

In  the  mean  time,  I  remain  your  affectionate  son. 


PHILADELPHIA,  Feb.  llth,  1783. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  31st  of  January  was  safely 
brought  by  Mr.  Thompson.  That  of  the  7th  instant  came  by 
yesterday's  mail.  The  anecdote  related  in  the  first  was  new  to 
me,*  and  if  there  were  no  other  key,  would  sufficiently  decipher 
the  implacability  of  the  party  triumphed  over.  In  answer  to 
the  second,  I  can  only  say  at  this  time,  that  I  feel  deeply  for 
your  situation,t  that  I  approve  of  the  choice  you  have  made 
among  its  difficulties,  and  that  every  aid  which  can  depend  on 
me  shall  be  exerted  to  relieve  you  from  them.  Before  I  can 
take  any  step  with  propriety,  however,  it  will  be  expedient  to 
feel  the  sentiments  of  Congress,  and  to  advise  with  some  of  my 
friends.  The  first  point  may  possibly  be  brought  about  by  your 
letter  to  the  Secretary  of  Foreign  Affairs,  which  I  suppose  came 
too  late  yesterday  to  be  laid  before  Congress,  but  which  will, 
no  doubt,  be  handed  in  this  morning. 

The  time  of  Congress  since  you  left  us  has  been  almost  exclu 
sively  spent  on  projects  for  a  valuation  of  the  land,  as  the 
federal  articles  require,  and  yet  I  do  not  find  that  we  have  got 
an  inch  forward  towards  the  object.  The  mode  of  referring 
the  task  to  the  States,  which  had  at  first  the  warmest  and  most 
numerous  support,  seems  to  be  in  a  manner  abandoned,  and 

*  The  anecdote  referred  to  an  occurrence  between  Dr.  Franklin  and  Arthur 

f  Untoward  detention  at  Annapolis,  whither  Mr.  Jefferson  had  gone  to  embark 
for  Europe  as  one  of  the  commissioners  to  treat  of  peace. 

1783.  LETTERS.  63 

nothing  determinate  is  yet  offered  on  the  mode  of  effecting  it 
without  their  intervention.  The  greatest  misfortune,  perhaps, 
attending  the  case  is,  that  a  plan  of  some  kind  is  made  an  indis 
pensable  preliminary  to  any  other  essay  for  the  public  relief.  I 
much  question  whether  a  sufficient  number  of  States  will  be 
found  in  favor  of  any  plan  that  can  be  devised,  as  I  am  sure 
that  in  the  present  temper  of  Congress  a  sufficient  number 
cannot,  who  will  agree  to  toll  their  constituents  that  the  law 
of  the  Confederation  cannot  be  executed,  and  to  propose  an 
amendment  of  it. 

Congress  yesterday  received  from  Mr.  Adams  several  letters 
dated  September,  not  remarkable  for  anything  unless  it  be  a 
fresh  display  of  his  vanity,  and  prejudice  against  the  French 
court,  and  his  venom  against  Doct.  Franklin.  Other  prepara 
tions  for  the  post  do  not  allow  me  to  use  more  cypher  at  present. 

I  have  a  letter  from  Randolph  dated  February  1,  confirming 
the  death  of  his  aunt.  You  are  acquainted,  no  doubt,  with  the 
course  the  estate  is  to  take.  He  seems  disposed,  in  case  he  can 
make  a  tolerable  compromise  with  his  father's  creditors,  to 
resign  his  appointment  under  the  State,  and  go  into  the  Legis 
lature.  His  zeal  for  some  Continental  arrangement  as  essential 
for  the  public  honor  and  safety  forms  at  least  one  of  his 
motives,  and  I  have  added  all  the  fuel  to  it  in  my  power. 

My  neglect  to  write  to  you  heretofore  has  proceeded  from  a 
hope  that  a  letter  would  not  find  you  at  Baltimore,  and  no  sub 
ject  has  occurred  for  one  of  sufficient  importance  to  follow  you. 
You  shall  henceforward  hear  from  me  as  often  as  an  occasion 
presents,  until  your  departure  forbids  it. 

The  ladies  and  gentlemen  to  whom  I  communicated  your 
respects  return  them  with  equal  sincerity,  and  the  former,  as 
well  as  myself,  very  affectionately  include  Miss  Patsy  in  the 
object  of  them. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  your  sincere  friend. 

64  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1783. 


PHILADELPHIA,  April  29th,  1783. 

SIR, — I  have  been  honored  with  your  Excellency's  favor  of 
the  22d  instant,  bearing  testimony  to  the  merits  and  talents  of 
Mr.  McHenry.  The  character  which  I  had  preconceived  of  this 
gentleman  was  precisely  that  which  your  representation  has 
confirmed.  As  Congress  have  not  yet  fixed  the  peace  establish 
ment  for  their  foreign  affairs,  and  will  not  probably  fill  up 
vacancies,  unless  there  be  some  critical  urgency,  until  such  an 
establishment  be  made,  it  is  uncertain  when  an  opportunity  will 
present  itself  of  taking  into  consideration  the  wishes  and  merits 
of  Mr.  McHenry.  Should  my  stay  here  be  protracted  till  that 
happens,  which  I  do  not  at  present  expect,  I  shall  feel  an  addi 
tional  pleasure  in  promoting  the  public  interest  from  my  knowl 
edge  that  I  at  the  same  time  fulfil  both  your  Excellency's 
public  judgment  and  private  inclination. 


PHTLA.,  May  27,  1783. 
HONDSIR—  *  *  *  *  * 

I  have  hitherto  not  been  inattentive  to  the  request  of  Mrs. 
J.,  and  shall,  in  consequence  of  your  letter,  renew  my  efforts 
for  the  books,  which  the  return  of  peace  renders  more  likely  to 
be  attainable  for  her.  I  see  few  books  in  the  catalogue  which 
you  have  sent  which  are  worth  purchasing,  but  I  will  peruse  it 
more  carefully,  and  send  you  the  titles  of  such  as  I  may  select. 

I  received  a  letter  from  Mr.  Joseph  Chew  a  few  days  ago,  by 
which,  and  the  information  of  Colonel  Wadsworth,  who  brought 
it  and  is  a  friend  of  his,  I  find  that  he  is  in  New  York  with  his 
family;  that  they  are  all  well ;  that  he  continues  as  yet  to  hold 
a  post  which  supports  them  comfortably;  that  although  he  has 
enjoyed  opportunities  of  honestly  laying  up  profits,  his  gene 
rosity  of  temper  has  prevented  it.  I  cannot  learn  whether  he 
proposes  to  remain  in  this  country  or  not,  but  am  inclined  to 

1783.  LETTERS.  Co 

think  he  will  go  to  Canada,  where  he  has  some  little  expecta 
tions.  He  seems  to  be  exceedingly  anxious  to  hear  of  his 
friends  in  Virginia,  and  I  have  written  as  fully  to  him  on  the 
subject  as  my  knowledge  would  admit.  I  wish  some  of  his 
friends  on  the  spot,  and  particularly  yourself,  would  write  to 
him.  Besides  the  information  he  would  receive,  it  would  be  a 
pleasing  proof  to  him  that  he  still  retained  a  place  in  their 
remembrance  and  regards. 

We  are  without  information  of  late  as  to  the  progress  of  the 
definitive  treaty,  and  of  the  bill  in  the  British  Parliament  for 
opening  trade  with  the  United  States.  The  confusions  pro 
duced  in  their  counsels  by  the  long  suspension  of  the  Ministry 
seem  to  put  everything  to  a  stand.  The  paper  which  I  enclose 
will  give  you  the  latest  information  on  that  subject. 
Yr  dutiful  son. 


PIHLA.,  June  5,  1783. 

HOND  SIB, — By  the  post  preceding  the  last,  I  answered  yours 
of  the  16th,  addressing  it  to  the  care  of  Mr.  Maury.  I  was 
prevented  by  more  necessary  writing  from  enclosing  the  pa 
pers  again  by  the  last  post,  as  I  had  intended.  I  now  supply 
the  omission  by  two  gentlemen  going  to  Fredericksburg.  All 
the  news  we  have  received  is  contained  in  them,  and  respects 
solely  the  arrangement  which  is  at  length  made  of  a  British 

Having  sent  several  copies  of  the  pamphlet  of  Congress  on 
the  subject  of  revenue,  &c.,  which  I  suppose  will  be  transcribed 
in  the  Virginia  gazettes,  I  shall  add  nothing  on  that  subject, 
presuming  that  you  will,  through  some  channel  or  other,  obtain 
a  sight  of  these  proceedings.  I  enclose  a  memorandum  of  the 
books  which  I  wish  you  to  select  from  Dr.  Hamilton's  catalogue. 

I  shall  take  care  not  to  disappoint  you  of  the  chair  which  I 
promised  to  bring  with  me.  The  time  of  my  setting  out  is  as 

VOL.  i.  5 

66  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784. 

uncertain  as  at  the  date  of  my  last ;  but  it  will  certainly  take 
place  before  the  Fall. 

Remember  me  affly  to  my  mother  and  all  the  family,  and  be 
assured  that  I  am,  your  dutiful  son. 


ORANGE,  March  10th.  1784. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, — Your  favor  of  the  27th  January  was 
safely  delivered  to  me  about  a  fortnight  ago,  and  was  received 
with  the  greater  pleasure,  as  it  promises  a  continuance  of  your 
friendly  attention.  I  am  sorry  that  my  situation  enables  me  to 
stipulate  no  other  return  than  sincere  and  thankful  acknowl 

On  my  arrival  here,  which  happened  early  in  December,  I 
entered,  as  soon  as  the  necessary  attentions  to  my  friends 
admitted,  on  the  course  of  reading  which  I  have  long  meditated. 
Coke  Littleton,  in  consequence,  and  a  few  others  from  the  same 
shelf,  have  been  my  chief  society  during  the  winter.  My  pro 
gress,  which  in  so  short  a  period  could  not  have  been  great 
under  the  most  favorable  circumstances,  has  been  much  retarded 
by  the  want  of  some  important  books,  and  still  more  by  that  of 
some  living  oracle  for  occasional  consultation.  But  what  will 
be  most  noxious  to  my  project,  I  am  to  incur  the  interruptions 
which  will  result  from  attendance  in  the  Legislature,  if  the 
suffrage  of  my  county  should  destine  me  for  that  service,  which 
I  am  made  to  expect  will  be  the  case.  Among  the  circum 
stances  which  reconcile  me  to  this  destination,  you  need  not  bo 
assured  that  the  opportunity  of  being  in  your  neighborhood  has 
its  full  influence. 

I  have  perused,  with  both  pleasure  and  edification,  your  ob 
servations  on  the  demand  made  by  the  Executive  of  South  Caro 
lina  of  a  citizen  of  this  State.  If  I  were  to  hazard  an  opinion 
after  yours,  it  would  be  that  the  respect  due  to  the  chief  magis 
tracy  of  a  Confederate  State,  enforced  as  it  is  by  the  Articles  of 

1784.  LETTERS.  67 

Union,  requires  an  admission  of  the  fact  as  it  lias  been  repre 
sented.  If  the  representation  be  judged  incomplete  or  ambig 
uous,  explanations  may  certainly  be  called  for;  and  if,  on  a 
final  view  of  the  charge,  Virginia  should  hold  it  to  be  not  a 
casus  fcede-ris,  she  will  be  at  liberty  to  withhold  her  citizen,  (at 
least  upon  that  ground,)  as  South  Carolina  will  be  to  appeal  to 
the  tribunal  provided  for  all  controversies  among  the  States. 
Should  the  law  of  South  Carolina  happen  to  vary  from  the 
British  law,  the  most  difficult  point  of  discussion,  I  apprehend, 
will  be,  whether  the  terms  "  treason/'  &c.,  are  to  be  referred  to 
those  determinate  offences  so  denominated  in  the  latter  code,  or 
to  all  those  to  which  the  policy  of  the  several  States  may  annex 
the  same  titles  and  penalties.  Much  may  be  urged,  I  think, 
both  in  favor  of  and  against  each  of  these  expositions.  The 
two  first  of  those  terms,  coupled  with  "  breach  of  the  peace," 
are  used  in  the  5th  article  of  the  Confederation,  but  in  a  way 
that  does  not  clear  the  ambiguity.  The  truth,  perhaps,  in  this 
as  in  many  other  instances,  is,  that  if  the  compilers  of  the  text 
had  severally  declared  their  meanings,  these  would  have  been 
as  diverse  as  the  comments  which  will  be  made  upon  it. 

Waiving  the  doctrine  of  the  Confederation,  my  present  view 
of  the  subject  would  admit  few  exceptions  to  the  propriety 
of  surrendering  fugitive  offenders.  My  reasons  are  these:  1. 
By  the  express  terms  of  the  Union,  the  citizens  of  every  State 
are  naturalized  within  all  the  others,  and  being  entitled  to  the 
same  privileges,  may  with  the  more  justice  be  subjected  to  the 
same  penalties.  This  circumstance  materially  distinguishes  the 
citizens  of  the  United  States  from  the  subjects  of  other  nations 
not  so  incorporated.  2.  The  analogy  of  the  laws  throughout 
the  States,  and  particularly  the  uniformity  of  trial  by  juries  of 
the  vicinage,  seem  to  obviate  the  capital  objections  against 
removal  to  the  State  where  the  offence  is  charged.  In  the 
instance  of  continuous  States,  a  removal  of  the  party  accused 
from  one  to  the  other  must  often  be  a  less  grievance  than  what 
happens  within  the  same  State  when  the  place  of  residence  and 
the  place  where  the  offence  is  laid  are  at  distant  extremities. 
The  transportation  to  Great  Britain  seems  to  have  been  repro- 

68  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784. 

bated  on  very  different  grounds ;  it  would  have  deprived  the 
accused  of  the  privilege  of  trial  by  jury  of  the  vicinage,  as  well 
as  of  the  use  of  his  witnesses,  and  have  exposed  him  to  trial  in 
a  place  where  he  was  not  even  alledged  to  have  ever  made  him 
self  obnoxious  to  it ;  not  to  mention  the  danger  of  unfairness 
arising  from  the  circumstances  which  produced  the  regulation. 
3.  Unless  citizens  of  one  State  transgressing  within  the  pale 
of  another  be  given  up  to  be  punished  by  the  latter,  they  cannot 
be  punished  at  all;  and  it  seems  to  be  a  common  interest  of  the 
States  that  a  few  hours,  or  at  most  a  few  days,  should  not  be 
sufficient  to  gain  a  sanctuary  for  the  authors  of  the  numerous 
offences  below  "high  misdemesnors."  In  a  word,  experience 
will  shew,  if  I  mistake  not,  that  the  relative  situation  of  the 
United  States  calls  for  a  "Droit  Public"  much  more  minute  than 
that  comprised  in  the  federal  articles,  and  which  presupposes 
much  greater  mutual  confidence  and  amity  among  the  societies 
which  are  to  obey  it,  than  the  law  which  has  grown  out  of  the 
transactions  and  intercourse  of  jealous  and  hostile  nations. 

Present  my  respectful  compliments  to  your  amiable  lady,  and 
accept  the  sincerest  wishes  for  your  joint  happiness  of 
Your  affec6  friend  and  obt  servt. 

P.  S.  By  my  Brother  who  is  charged  with  this,  I  send  Chas- 
tellux's  work,  De  la  Felicite  Publique,  which  you  may  perhaps 
find  leisure  to  run  through  before  May;  also  a  notable  work  of 
one  of  the  Representatives  of  the  U.  S.  in  Europe. 


ORANGE,  March  16th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  20th  ult.  came  duly  to  hand  a 
few  days  ago. 

I  cannot  apprehend  that  any  difficulties  can  ensue  in  Europe 
from  the  involuntary  and  immaterial  delay  of  the  ratification 
of  the  peace,  or  if  there  should,  that  any  imputations  can  be  de- 


vised  which  will  not  be  repelled  by  the  collective  force  of  the 
reasons  in  the  intended  protest,  some  of  which,  singly  taken,  are 
unanswerable.  As  you  no  doubt  had  recourse  to  authorities 
which  I  have  no  opportunity  of  consulting,  I  probably  err  in 
supposing  the  right  of  the  Sovereign  to  reject  the  act  of  his 
plenipotentiary  to  be  more  circumscribed  than  you  lay  it  down. 
I  recollect  well  that  an  implied  condition  is  annexed  by  the 
usage  of  nations  to  a  Plenipotentiary  Commission,  but  should 
not  have  extended  the  implication  beyond  cases  where  some 
palpable  and  material  default  in  the  Minister  could  be  alledged 
by  the  Sovereign.  Waiving  some  such  plea,  the  language  both 
of  the  Commission  and  of  reason  seems  to  fix  on  the  latter  as 
clear  an  engagement  to  fulfil  his  promise  to  ratify  a  treaty,  as 
to  fulfil  the  promises  of  a  treaty  which  he  has  ratified.  In  both 
cases,  one  would  pronounce  the  obligation  equally  personal  to 
the  Sovereign,  and  a  failure  on  his  part,  without  some  absolving 
circumstance,  equally  a  breach  of  faith. 

The  project  of  affixing  the  seal  of  the  United  States,  by  seven 
States,  to  an  act  u'hick  had  been  just  admitted  to  require  nine, 
must  have  stood  self-condemned;  and  though  it  might  have  pro 
duced  a  temporary  deception  abroad,  must  have  been  imme 
diately  detected  at  home,  and  have  finally  dishonored  the 
federal  counsels  everywhere.  The  competency  of  seven  States 
to  a  Treaty  of  Peace  has  often  been  a  subject  of  debate  in  Con 
gress,  and  has  sometimes  been  admitted  into  their  practice,  at 
least  so  far  as  to  issue  fresh  instructions.  The  reasoning  em 
ployed  in  defence  of  the  doctrine  has  been,  "  that  the  cases  which 
require  nine  States,  being  exceptions  to  the  general  authority 
of  seven  States,  ought  to  be  taken  strictly;  that  in  the  enumera 
tion  of  the  powers  of  Congress  in  the  first  clause  of  article  9 
of  the  Confederation,  the  power  of  entering  into  treaties  and 
alliances  is  contradistinguished  from  that  of  determining  on 
peace  and  war,  and  even  separated  by  the  intervening  power  of 
sending  and  receiving  ambassadors ;  that  the  excepting  clause, 
therefore,  in  which  '  Treaties  and  alliances '  ought  to  be  taken 
in  the  same  confined  sense,  and  in  which  the  power  of  deter 
mining  on  peace  is  omitted,  cannot  be  extended  by  construction 

70  WORKS    OP    MADISON.  1784. 

to  the  latter  power;  that  under  such  a  construction  five  States 
might  continue  a  war  which  it  required  nine  to  commence, 
though  where  the  object  of  the  war  has  been  obtained,  a  con 
tinuance  must  in  every  view  be  equivalent  to  a  commencement 
of  it,  and  that  the  very  means  provided  for  preserving  a  state 
of  peace  might  thus  become  the  means  of  preventing  its  restora 

The  answer  to  these  arguments  has  been,  that  the  construction 
of  the  federal  articles  which  they  maintain  is  a  nicety  which 
reason  disclaims,  and  that  if  it  be  dangerous  on  one  side  to 
leave  it  in  the  breast  of  five  States  to  protract  a  war,  it  is 
equally  necessary  on  the  other  to  restrain  seven  States  from 
saddling  the  Union  with  any  stipulations  which  they  may  please 
to  interweave  with  a  Treaty  of  peace.  I  was  once  led  by  this 
question  to  search  the  files  of  Congress  for  such  lights  as  the 
history  of  the  Confederation  might  furnish,  and  on  a  review 
now  of  my  papers,  I  find  the  evidence  from  that  source  to  consist 
of  the  following  circumstances:  In  Doctor  Franklin's  "Sketch 
of  Articles  of  Confederation,"  laid  before  Congress  on  the  21st 
day  of  July,  1775,  no  number  beyond  a  majority  is  required  in 
any  cases.  In  the  plan  reported  to  Congress  by  the  Committee 
appointed  llth  June,  1776,  the  general  enumeration  of  the 
powers  of  Congress  in  article  18  is  expressed  in  a  similar  man 
ner  with  the  first  clause  in  the  present  9th  article,  as  are  the 
exceptions  in  a  subsequent  clause  of  the  18th  article  of  the 
report,  with  the  excepting  clause  as  it  now  stands ;  and  yet  in 
the  margin  of  the  Report,  and  I  believe  in  the  same  handwriting, 
there  is  a  "  Qu. :  If  so  large  a  majority  is  necessary  in  conclu 
ding  a  Treaty  of  peace.7'  There  are  sundry  other  marginal 
queries  in  the  report  from  the  same  pen. 

Hence  it  would  seem  that,  notwithstanding  the  preceding  dis 
crimination  between  the  powers  of  "  determining  on  peace"  and 
"entering  into  Treaties,"  the  latter  was  meant  by  the  Committee 
to  comprise  the  former.  The  next  form  in  which  the  articles 
appear  is  a  printed  copy  of  the  Report  as  it  had  been  previously 
amended,  with  sundry  amendments,  erasures,  and  notes,  on  the 
printed  copy  itself,  in  the  hand  of  Mr.  Thomson.  In  the  printed 

1784.  LETTERS.  71 

text  of  this  paper,  Art,  14,  the  phraseology  which  defines  the 
general  powers  of  Congress  is  the  same  with  that  in  Art.  18 
of  the  manuscript  report.  In  the  subsequent  clause  requiring 
nine  States,  the  text  as  printed  ran  thus:  "  The  United  States 
in  Congress  assembled  shall  never  engage  in  a  war,  nor  grant 
letters  of  marque  and  reprisal  in  time  of  peace,  nor  enter  into 
any  Treaties  or  alliances  except  for  peace,"  the  words  except 
for  peace  being  erased,  but  sufficiently  legible  through  the 
erasure.  The  fair  inference  from  this  passage  seems  to  be :  1. 
That  without  those  words  nine  States  were  held  to  be  required 
for  concluding  peace.  2.  That  an  attempt  had  been  made  to 
render  seven  States  competent  to  such  an  act,  which  attempt 
must  have  succeeded,  either  on  a  preceding  discussion  in  Con 
gress,  or  in  a  Committee  of  the  whole,  or  a  special  committee. 
3.  That  on  fuller  deliberation,  the  power  of  making  Treaties  of 
peace  was  meant  to  be  left  on  the  same  footing  with  that  of 
making  all  other  Treaties.  The  remaining  papers  on  the  files 
have  no  reference  to  this  question. 

Another  question  which  several  times  during  my  service  in 
Congress  exercised  their  deliberations  was,  whether  seven  States 
could  revoke  a  Commission  for  a  Treaty  issued  by  nine  States, 
at  any  time  before  the  faith  of  the  Confederacy  should  be 
pledged  under  it.  In  the  instance  of  a  proposition  in  1781  to 
revoke  a  Commission  which  had  been  granted  under  peculiar 
circumstances  in  1779  to  Adams,  to  form  a  treaty  of  commerce 
with  Great  Britain,  the  competency  of  seven  States  was  resolved 
on,  (by  seven  States  indeed,)  and  a  revocation  took  place  ac 
cordingly.  It  was,  however,  effected  with  much  difficulty,  and 
some  members  of  the  minority  even  contested  the  validity  of 
the  proceeding.  My  own  opinion  then  was,  and  still  is,  that 
the  proceeding  was  equally  valid  and  expedient.  The  circum 
stances  which  had  given  birth  to  the  commission  had  given 
place  to  others  totally  different;  not  a  single  step  had  been 
taken  under  the  commission  which  could  affect  the  honor  or 
faith  of  the  United  States,  and  it  surely  can  never  be  said  that 
either  the  letter  or  spirit  of  the  Confederation  requires  the 
same  majority  to  decline  as  to  engage  in  foreign  treaties.  The 

72  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  iTSt. 

safest  method  of  guarding  against  the  execution  of  those  great 
powers,  after  the  circumstances  which  dictated  them  have 
changed,  is  to  limit  their  duration,  trusting  to  renewals  as  they 
expire,  if  the  original  reasons  continue.  My  experience  of  the 
uncertainty  of  getting  an  affirmative  vote  even  of  seven  States 
had  determined  me,  before  I  left  Congress,  always  to  contend 
for  such  limitations. 

I  thought  the  sense  of  the  term  "  appropriation  "  had  been 
settled  by  the  latter  practice  of  Congress  to  be  the  same  as  you 
take  it  to  be.  I  always  understood  that  to  be  the  true,  the 
parliamentary,  and  the  only  rational  sense.  If  no  distinction 
be  admitted  between  the  "appropriation  of  money  to  general 
uses''  and  "expenditures  in  detail,"  the  Secretary  of  Congress 
could  not  buy  quills  or  wafers  without  a  vote  of  nine  States 
entered  on  record,  and  the  Secretary  to  the  Committee  of  the 
States  could  not  do  it  at  all.  In  short,  unless  one  vote  of  ap 
propriation  can  extend  to  a  class  of  objects,  there  must  be  a 
physical  impossibility  of  providing  for  them;  and  the  extent 
and  generality  of  such  classes  can  only  be  determined  by  dis 
cretion  and  conveniency.  It  is  observable,  that  in  the  specifi 
cation  of  the  powers  which  require  nine  States,  the  single  tech 
nical  word  "  appropriate  "  is  retained.  In  the  general  recital 
which  precedes,  the  word  "apply"  as  well  as  "appropriate"  is 

You  were  not  mistaken  in  supposing  I  had  in  conversation 
restrained  the  authority  of  the  federal  Court  to  territorial  dis 
putes,  but  I  was  egregiously  so  in  the  opinion  I  had  formed. 
Whence  I  got  it  I  am  utterly  at  a  loss  to  account.  It  could  not 
be  from  the  Confederation  itself,  for  words  could  not  be  more 
explicit.  I  detected  the  error  a  few  days  ago  in  consulting  the 
articles  on  another  subject,  and  had  noted  it  for  my  next  letter 
to  you. 

I  am  not  sure  that  I  comprehend  your  idea  of  a  cession  of 
the  Territory  beyond  the  Kenhaway  and  on  this  side  the  Ohio. 
As  all  the  soil  of  value  has  been  granted  out  to  individuals,  a 
cession  in  that  view  would  be  improper,  and  a  cession  of  the 
jurisdiction  to  Congress  can  be  proper  only  where  the  Country 

1781.  LETTERS.  73 

is  vacant  of  settlers.  I  presume  your  meaning,  therefore,  to  be 
no  more  than  a  separation  of  that  country  from  this,  and  an 
incorporation  of  it  into  the  Union;  a  work  to  which  all  three 
must  be  parties.  I  have  no  reason  to  believe  there  will  be  any 
repugnance  on  the  part  of  Virginia. 

The  effort  of  Pennsylvania  for  the  Western  commerce  does 
credit  to  her  public  councils.  The  commercial  genius  of  this 
State  is  too  much  in  its  infancy,  I  fear,  to  rival  the  example. 
Were  this  less  the  case,  the  confusion  of  its  affairs  must  stifle 
all  enterprize.  I  shall  be  better  able,  however,  to  judge  of  the 
practicability  of  your  hint  when  I  know  more  of  them. 

The  declension  of  Georgetown  does  not  surprize  me,  tho'  it 
gives  me  regret.  If  the  competition  should  lie  between  Trenton 
and  Philadelphia,  and  depend  on  the  vote  of  New  York,  it  is 
not  difficult  to  foresee  into  which  scale  it  will  be  thrown,  nor 
the  probable  effect  of  such  decision  on  our  Southern  hopes. 

I  have  long  regarded  the  council  as  a  grave  of  useful  talents, 
as  well  as  objectionable  in  point  of  expence,  yet  I  see  not  how 
such  a  reform  as  you  suggest  can  be  brought  about.  The  Con 
stitution,  tho'  readily  overleaped  by  the  Legislature  on  the 
spur  of  an  occasion,  would  probably  be  made  a  bar  to  such  an 
innovation.  It  directs  that  eight  members  be  kept  up,  and  re 
quires  the  sanction  of  four  to  almost  every  act  of  the  Governor. 
Is  it  not  to  be  feared,  too,  that  these  little  meliorations  of  the 
Government  may  turn  the  edge  of  some  of  the  arguments  which 
ought  to  be  laid  to  its  root  ?  I  grow  every  day  more  and  more 
solicitous  to  see  this  essential  work  begun.  Every  day's  delay 
settles  the  Government  deeper  into  the  habits  of  the  people,  and 
strengthens  the  prop  which  their  acquiescence  gives  it.  My 
field  of  observation  is  too  small  to  warrant  any  conjecture  of 
the  public  disposition  towards  the  measure;  but  all  with  whom 
I  converse  lend  a  ready  ear  to  it.  Much  will  depend  on  the 
politics  of  Mr.  Henry,  which  are  wholly  unknown  to  me. 
Should  they  be  adverse,  and  G.  Mason  not  in  the  Assembly, 
hazardous  as  delay  is,  the  experiment  must  be  put  off  to  a  more 
auspicious  conjuncture. 

The  charter  granted  in  1732  to  Lord  Baltimore  makes,  if  I 

74  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1734. 

mistake  not,  the  Southern  shore  of  the  Potowmac  the  boundary 
of  Maryland  on  that  side.  The  Constitution  of  Virginia  cedes 
to  that  State  "  all  the  territories  contained  within  its  charter, 
with  all  the  rights  of  property,  jurisdiction,  and  Government,  and 
all  other  rights  whatsoever,  which  might  at  any  time  have  been 
claimed  by  Virginia,  excepting  only  the  free  navigation  and  use 
of  the  Rivers  Potowmac  and  Pohomoque,  &c."  Is  it  not  to  be 
apprehended  that  this  language  will  be  construed  into  an  entire 
relinquishment  of  the  Jurisdiction  of  these  rivers,  and  will  not 
such  a  construction  be  fatal  to  our  port  regulations  on  that  side, 
and  otherwise  highly  inconvenient  ?  I  was  told  on  my  journey 
along  the  Potowmac  of  several  flagrant  evasions  which  had 
been  practiced  with  impunity  and  success  by  foreign  vessels 
which  had  loaded  at  Alexandria.  The  jurisdiction  of  half  the 
rivers  ought  to  have  been  expressly  reserved.  The  terms  of 
the  surrender  are  the  more  extraordinary  as  the  patetits  of  the 
N.  neck  place  the  whole  river  Potowmac  within  the  Govern 
ment  of  Virginia;  so  that  we  were  armed  with  a  title  both  of 
prior  and  posterior  date  to  that  of  Maryland.  What  will  be 
the  best  course  to  repair  the  error? — to  extend  our  laws  upon 
the  River,  making  Maryland  the  plaintiff  if  she  chooses  to  con 
test  their  authority — to  state  the  case  to  her  at  once  and  pro 
pose  a  settlement  by  negociation — or  to  propose  a  mutual  ap 
pointment  of  Commissioners  for  the  general  purpose  of  preserv 
ing  a  harmony  and  efficacy  in  the  regulations  on  both  sides? 
The  last  mode  squares  best  with  my  present  ideas.  It  can  give 
no  irritation  to  Maryland;  it  can  weaken  no  plea  of  Virginia; 
it  will  give  Maryland  an  opportunity  of  stirring  the  question  if 
she  chooses;  and  will  not  be  fruitless  if  Maryland  should  admit 
our  jurisdiction.  If  I  see  the  subject  in  its  true  light,  no  time 
should  be  lost  in  fixing  the  interest  of  Virginia.  The  good 
humour  into  which  the  cession  of  the  back  lands  must  have  put 
Maryland  forms  an  apt  crisis  for  any  negociations  which  may 
be  necessary.  You  will  be  able,  probably,  to  look  into  her 
charter  and  her  laws,  and  to  collect  the  leading  sentiments  rel 
ative  to  the  matter. 

The  winter  has  been  so  severe  that  I  have  never  renewed  m\ 

1784.  LETTERS.  75 

call  on  the  library  of  Monticello,  and  the  time  is  now  drawing 
so  near  when  I  may  pass  for  a  while  into  a  different  scene,  that 
I  shall  await  at  least  the  return  to  my  studies.  Mr.  L.  Grymes 
told  me  a  few  days  ago  that  a  few  of  your  books  which  had 
been  borrowed  by  Mr.  W.  Maury,  and  ordered  by  him  to  be 
sent  to  his  brother's,  the  clergyman,  on  their  way  to  Monticello, 
were  still  at  the  place  which  Mr.  M.  removed  from.  I  desired 
Mr.  Grymes  to  send  them  to  me  instead  of  the  Parson,  suppos 
ing,  as  the  distance  is  less,  the  books  will  probably  be  sooner 
out  of  danger  from  accidents,  and  that  a  conveyance  from  hence 
will  not  be  less  convenient.  I  calculated,  also,  on  the  use  of 
such  of  them  as  may  fall  within  my  plan. 

I  lately  got  home  the  trunk  which  contained  my  Buffon,  but 
have  barely  entered  upon  him.  My  time  begins  already  to  be 
much  less  my  own  than  during  the  winter  blockade.  I  must 
leave  to  your  discretion  the  occasional  purchase  of  rare  and 
valuable  books,  disregarding  the  risk  of  duplicates.  You  know 
tolerably  well  the  objects  of  my  curiosity.  I  will  only  partic 
ularize  my  wish  of  whatever  may  throw  light  on  the  general 
constitution  and  droit  publique  of  the  several  confederacies 
which  have  existed.  I  observe  in  Boenaud's  catalogue  several 
pieces  on  the  Dutch,  the  German,  and  the  Helvetic.  The  oper 
ations  of  our  own  must  render  all  such  lights  of  consequence. 
Books  on  the  law  of  N.  &  N.  fall  within  a  similar  remark.  The 
tracts  of  Bynkershoeck,  which  you  mention,  I  must  trouble  you 
to  get  for  me,  and  in  French,  if  to  be  had,  rather  than  latin. 
Should  the  body  of  his  works  come  nearly  as  cheap  as  these 
select  publications,  perhaps  it  may  be  worth  considering  whether 
the  whole  would  not  be  preferable.  Is  not  Wolfius  also  worth 
having  ?  I  recollect  to  have  seen  at  Pritchard's  a  copy  of  Haw- 
kin's  abridgement  of  Co.  Litt.  I  would  willingly  take  it  if  it 
be  still  there,  and  you  have  an  opportunity.  A  copy  of  Deanc's 
letters,  which  were  printed  in  New  York,  and  which  I  failed  to 
get  before  I  left  Philadelphia,  I  should  also  be  glad  of.  I  use 
this  freedom  in  confidence  that  you  will  be  equally  free  in  con 
sulting  your  own  conveniency  whenever  I  encroach  upon  it.  I 
hope  you  will  be  so,  particularly  in  the  request  I  have  to  add. 

76  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178 1. 

One  of  my  parents  would  be  considerably  gratified  with  a 
pair  of  good  spectacles,  which  are  not  to  be  got  here.  The  par 
ticular  readiness  of  Dudley  to  serve  you  inclines  ine  to  think 
that  an  order  from  you  would  be  well  executed.  Will  you, 
therefore,  be  so  good  as  to  get  from  him  one  of  his  best  pebble 
and  double-jointed  pair,  for  the  age  fifty-five,  or  thereabouts, 
with  a  good  case,  and  forward  them  by  the  first  safe  convey 
ance  to  me  in  Orange  or  at  Richmond,  as  the  case  may  be.  If 
I  had  thought  of  this  matter  before  Mr.  Maury  set  out,  I  might 
have  lessened  your  trouble.  It  is  not  material  whether  I  be 
repayed  at  the  Bank  of  Philadelphia  or  the  Treasury  of  Vir 
ginia,  but  I  beg  it  may  be  at  neither  till  you  are  made  secure 
by  public  remittances.  It  will  be  necessary,  at  any  rate,  for 
<£20  or  30  to  be  left  in  your  hands  or  in  the  Bank  for  little  ex 
penditures  which  your  kindness  is  likely  to  bring  upon  you. 

The  Executive  of  South  Carolina,  as  I  am  informed  by  the 
Attorney,  have  demanded  of  Virginia  the  surrender  of  a  citizen 
of  Virginia,  charged  on  the  affidavit  of  Jonas  Beard,  Esqr., 
whom  the  Executive  of  South  Carolina  represent  to  be  "  a  Jus 
tice  of  the  peace,  a  member  of  the  Legislature,  and  a  valuable, 
good  man,"  as  follows:  that  "  three  days  before  the  25th  day  of 
October,  1783,  he  (Mr.  Beard)  was  violently  assaulted  by  G. 
H.,  during  the  sitting  of  the  Court  of  General  Sessions,  without 
any  provocation  thereto  given,  who  beat  him  (Mr.  B.)  with  his 
fist  and  switch  over  the  face,  head,  and  mouth,  from  which  beat 
ing  he  was  obliged  to  keep  his  room  until  the  said  25th  day  of 
October,  1783,  and  call  in  the  assistance  of  a  physician."  Such 
is  the  case  as  collected  by  Mr.  Randolph  from  the  letter  of  the 
Executive  of  South  Carolina.  The  questions  which  arise  upon 
it  are:  1.  Whether  it  be  a  charge  of  high  misdemesnor  within 
the  meaning  of  the  fourth  Article  of  Confederation.  2.  Whether, 
in  expounding  the  terms  high  misdemeanor,  the  law  of  South 
Carolina,  or  the  British  law  as  in  force  in  the  United  States 
before  the  Revolution,  ought  to  be  the  standard.  3.  If  it  be 
not  a  casus  foederis,  what  the  law  of  nations  exacts  of  Virginia? 
4.  If  the  law  of  nations  contains  no  adequate  provision  for  such 
occurrences,  whether  the  intimacy  of  the  Union  among  the 

1781  LETTERS.  77 

States,  the  relative  position  of  some,  and  the  common  interest 
of  all  them  in  guarding  against  impunity  for  offences  which  can 
IDC  punished  only  by  the  jurisdiction  within  which  they  are  com 
mitted,  do  not  call  for  some  supplemental  regulations  on  this 
subject?  Mr.  Randolph  thinks  Virginia  not  bound  to  surrender 
the  fugitive  until  she  be  convinced  of  the  facts,  by  more  sub 
stantial  information,  and  of  its  amounting  to  a  high  misdemesnor, 
by  inspection  of  the  law  of  South  Carolina,  which,  and  not  the 
British  law,  ought  to  be  the  criterion.  His  reasons  are  too 
long  to  be  rehearsed. 

I  know  not,  my  dear  sir,  what  to  reply  to  the  affectionate 
invitation  which  closes  your  letter.  I  subscribe  to  the  justness 
of  your  general  reflections;  I  feel  the  attractions  of  the  particu 
lar  situation  you  point  out  to  me.  I  cannot  altogether  renounce 
the  prospect,  still  less  can  I  as  yet  embrace  it.  It  is  very  far 
from  being  improbable  that  a  few  years  more  may  prepare  me 
for  giving  such  a  destiny  to  my  future  life,  in  which  case  the 
same  or  some  equally  convenient  spot  may  be  commanded  by  a 
little  augmentation  of  price.  But  wherever  my  final  lot  may 
fix  me,  be  assured  that  I  shall  ever  remain,  with  the  sincerest 
affection  and  esteem, 

Your  friend  and  servant. 


ORANGE,  April  25th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  16th  of  March  came  to  hand 
a  few  days  before  Mazzei  called  on  me.  His  plan  was  to  have 
proceeded  hence  directly  to  Annapolis.  My  conversation  led 
him  to  premise  a  visit  to  Mr.  Henry,  from  whence  he  proposed 
to  repair  to  Richmond,  and  close  his  affairs  with  the  Executive. 
Contrary  to  my  expectation  he  returned  hither  on  Thursday 
last,  proposing  to  continue  his  circuit  through  Gloucester,  York, 
and  Williamsburg,  recommended  by  Mr.  Henry,  for  obtaining 

78  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

from  the  former  members  of  the  Council  certain  facts  relating 
to  his  appointment,  of  which  the  vouchers  have  been  lost.  This 
delay,  with  the  expectation  of  your  adjournment,  will  probably 
prevent  his  visit  to  Congress.  Your  letter  gave  me  the  first 
information  both  of  his  views  towards  a  Consulate  and  of  his 
enmity  towards  Franklin;  the  first  was  not  betrayed  to  me  by 
any  conversation  either  before  or  after  I  made  known  to  him 
the  determination  of  Congress  to  confine  such  appointments  to 
natives  of  America. 

As  to  the  2nd,  he  was  unreserved,  alleging  at  the  same  time 
that  the  exquisite  cunning  of  the  old  Fox  has  so  enveloped  his 
iniquity,  that  its  reality  cannot  be  proved  by  those  who  are 
thoroughly  satisfied  of  it.  It  is  evident,  from  several  circum 
stances  stated  by  himself,  that  his  enmity  has  been  embittered, 
if  not  wholly  occasioned,  by  incidents  of  a  personal  nature. 
Mr.  Adams  is  the  only  public  man  whom  he  thinks  favorably 
of,  or  seems  to  have  associated  with,  a  circumstance  which  their 
mutual  characters  may  perhaps  account  for.  Notwithstanding 
these  sentiments  towards  Franklin  and  Adams,  his  hatred  of 
England  remains  unabated ,  and  does  not  exceed  his  partiality 
for  France,  which,  with  many  other  considerations  which  need 
not  be  pointed  out,  persuade  me  that  however  dreadful  an 
actual  visit  from  him  might  be  to  you  in  a  personal  view,  it 
would  not  produce  the  public  mischiefs  you  apprehend  from  it. 

By  his  interview  with  Mr.  Henry,  I  learn  that  the  present 
politics  of  the  latter  comprehend  very  friendly  views  toward 
the  confederacy,  a  wish  tempered  with  much  caution  for  an 
amendment  of  our  own  constitution,  a  patronage  of  the  payment 
of  British  debts,  and  of  a  scheme  of  general  assessment. 

The  want  of  both  a  Thermometer  and  Barometer  had  deter 
mined  me  to  defer  a  meteorological  diary  till  I  could  procure 
these  instruments.  Since  the  receipt  of  your  letter,  I  have 
attended  to  the  other  columns. 

I  hope  the  letter  which  had  not  reached  you  at  the  date  of 
your  last  did  not  altogether  miscarry.  On  the  16th  of  March 
I  wrote  you  fully  on  sundry  points.  Among  others,  I  suggested 
to  your  attention  the  case  of  the  Potowmac,  having  in  my  eye 

1784.  LETTERS.  79 

the  river  below  the  head  of  navigation.  It  will  be  well,  I 
think,  to  sound  the  ideas  of  Maryland  also,  as  to  the  upper  parts 
of  the  north  branch  of  it.  The  policy  of  Baltimore  will  prob 
ably  thwart,  as  far  as  possible,  the  opening  of  it;  and  without 
a  very  favorable  construction  of  the  right  of  Virginia,  and  even 
the  privilege  of  using  the  Maryland  Bank,  it  would  seem  that 
the  necessary  works  could  not  be  accomplished. 

Will  it  not  be  good  policy  to  suspend  further  Treaties  of 
Commerce  till  measures  shall  have  taken  place  in  America 
which  may  correct  the  idea  in  Europe  of  impotency  in  the  fede 
ral  Government  in  matters  of  Commerce?  Has  Virginia  been 
seconded  by  any  other  State  in  her  proposition  for  arming 
Congress  with  power  to  frustrate  the  unfriendly  regulations  of 
Great  Britain  with  regard  to  her  West  India  islands?  It  is 
reported  here  that  the  late  change  of  her  ministers  has  revived 
the  former  liberality  which  seemed  to  prevail  on  that  subject. 
Is  the  Impost  gaining  or  losing  ground  among  the  States?  Do 
any  considerable  payments  come  into  the  Continental  Treasury? 
Does  the  settlement  of  the  public  accounts  make  any  comfort 
able  progress?  Has  any  resolution  been  taken  by  Congress 
touching  the  old  Continental  currency?  Has  Maryland  fore- 
borne  to  take  any  steps  in  favour  of  George  Town?  Can  you 
tell  me  whether  any  question  in  the  Court  of  Appeals  has  yet 
determined  whether  the  war  ceased  on  our  coast  on  the  3d  of 
March  or  the  3d  of  April? 

The  books  which  I  was  told  were  still  at  the  place  left  by 
Mr.  W.  Maury  had  been  sent  away  at  the  time  Mr.  L.  Grymes 
informed  me  of  them. 

Mr.  Mazzei  tells  me  that  a  subterraneous  city  has  been  dis 
covered  in  Siberia,  which  appears  to  have  been  once  populous 
and  magnificent.  Among  other  curiosities  it  contains  an  eques- 
train  statue,  around  the  neck  of  which  was  a  golden  chain  200 
feet  in  length,  so  exquisitely  wrought  that  Buffon  inferred  from 
a  specimen  of  6  feet,  sent  him  by  the  Empress  of  Russia,  that 
no  artist  in  Paris  could  equal  the  workmanship.  Mr.  Mazzei 
saw  the  specimen  in  the  hands  of  Buffon,  and  heard  him  give 
this  opinion  of  it.  He  heard  read  at  the  same  time  a  letter 

$0  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

from  the  Empress  to  Buffon,  in  which  she  desired  the  present  to 
be  considered  as  a  tribute  to  the  man  to  whom  Natural  History 
was  so  much  indebted.  Mr.  Faujas  de  St.  Fond  thought  the 
city  was  between  72  and  74  N.  L.;  the  son  of  Buffon,  between 
62  and  64°.  Mr.  M.,  being  on  the  point  of  departure,  had  no 
opportunity  of  ascertaining  the  fact.  If  you  should  have  had 
no  better  account  of  the  discovery,  this  will  not  be  unaccepta 
ble  to  you,  and  will  lead  you  to  obtain  one. 

I  propose  to  set  off  for  Richmond  towards  the  end  of  this 
week.  The  election  in  this  county  was  on  thursday  last.  My 
colleague  is  Mr.  Charles  Porter. 

I  am,  your  affect6  friend. 


RICHMOXD,  May  15th,  1784. 

*        *        *        *        *  *        * 

The  arrangement  which  is  to  carry  you  to  Europe  has  been 
made  known  to  me  by  Mr.  Short,  who  tells  me  he  means  to  ac 
company  or  follow  you.  With  the  many  reasons  which  make 
this  event  agreeable,  I  cannot  but  mix  some  regret  that  your 
aid  towards  a  revisal  of  our  State  Constitution  will  be  removed. 
I  hope,  however,  for  your  licence  to  make  use  of  the  ideas  you 
were  so  good  as  to  confide  to  me,  so  far  as  they  may  be  neces 
sary  to  forward  the  object.  Whether  any  experiment  will  be 
made  this  session  is  uncertain.  Several  members  with  whom  I 
have  casually  conversed  give  me  more  encouragement  than  I  had 
indulged.  As  Col.  Mason  remains  in  private  life,  the  expediency 
of  starting  the  idea  will  depend  much  on  the  part  to  be  expected 
from  R.  H.  Lee  and  Mr.  Henry.  The  former  is  not  yet  come 
to  this  place,  nor  can  I  determine  any  thing  as  to  his  politics 
on  this  point.  The  latter  arrived  yesterday,  and  from  a  short 
conversation  I  find  him  strenuous  for  invigorating  the  Federal 
Government,  though  without  any  precise  plan,  but  have  got  no 

1784.  LETTERS.  81 

explanations  from  him  as  to  our  internal  Government.  The 
general  train  of  his  thoughts  seemed  to  suggest  favorable  ex 
pectations.  We  did  not  make  a  house  till  Wednesday  last,  and 
have  done  nothing  yet  but  arrange  the  committees  and  receive 
petitions.  The  former  Speaker  was  re-elected  without  opposi 
tion.  If  you  will,  either  before  or  after  your  leaving  America, 
point  out  the  channel  of  communication  with  you  in  Europe,  I 
will  take  the  pleasure  of  supplying  you  from  time  to  time  with 
our  internal  transactions,  as  far  as  they  may  deserve  your  atten 
tion;  and  expect  that  you  will  freely  command  every  other 
service  during  your  absence  which  it  may  be  in  my  power  to 

Wishing  you  every  success  and  happiness,  I  am,  dear  sir,  your 
affecte  friend, 


RICHMOND.  June  5th,  1784. 

The  House  of  Delegates  have  agreed  to  postpone  the  June 
tax  till  January.  It  is  not  improbable  that  the  Senate  may  re 
quire  half  to  be  collected  at  an  earlier  period. 


June  15th. — The  Senate  have  ratified  the  postponement  of 
the  taxes  till  the  last  day  of  January.  It  is  thought  by  some 
that  an  intermediate  tax  of  some  kind  or  other  will  be  essential, 
but  whether  any  such  will  take  place  is  uncertain,  and  perhaps 
improbable,  though  we  shall  make  a  strange  figure,  after  our 
declarations  with  regard  to  Congress  and  the  Continental  debt, 

if  we  wholly  omit  the  means  of  fulfilling  them. 
*  *  *  *  * 

June  24^. — Much  time  has  been  lately  spent  by  the  Assembly 
in  abortive  efforts  for  an  amendment  of  the  Constitution,  and 
fulfilling  the  Treaty  of  Peace  in  the  article  of  British  debts. 

VOL.  i  6 

82  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1734. 

The  residue  of  the  business  will  not  be  completed  till  next 

[Notes  in  the  hand-writing  of  Mr.  Madison,  of  a  speech  made  by  him  in  the 
House  of  Delegates  of  Virginia,  at  the  May  session  of  1784,  in  support  of  a  prop 
osition  for  a  Convention  to  revise  the  Constitution  of  the  State  :] 

I.  Nature  of  Constitution  examd.     See  Mass.,  P.  7,  8,  15, 
16;  N.  Y.,  P.  63;  Penna,  P.  85,  86;  Del.,  P.  106;  N.  C.,  P.  146, 
150;  S.  C.,  P.  188;  Geo.,  P.  186. 

II.  Convention  of  1776,  without  due  power  from  people. 

1.  Passed  ordinance  for   Constitun  on    recommendation  of 
Cong8  of  15  May,  prior  to  Declar11  of  Independence,  as  was 
done  in  N.  H.,  P.  1,  &  N.  J.,  P.  78,  84. 

2.  Passed  from  impulse  of  necessity.     See  last  clause  of  the 

3.  Before  independence  declared  by  Cong8. 

4.  Power  from  people  nowhere  pretended. 

5.  Other  ordinances  of  same  session  deemed  alterable,  as  rel 
ative  to  Senators — oaths — salt. 

6.  Provision  for  case  of  west  Augusta,  in  its  nature  tempo 

7.  Convention  make  themselves  branch  of  the  Legislature. 

III.  Constitution,  if  so  to  be  called,  defective. 

1.  In  a  union  of  powers,  which  is  tyranny.     Montesqn. 

2.  Executive  Department  dependent  on  Legislature:  1,  for  sal 
ary;  2,  for  character  in  triennial  expulsion;  3,  expensive:  4,  may 
be  for  life,  contrary  to  article  5  of  Declaration  of  rights. 

3.  Judiciary  dependent  for  am*  of  salary. 

4.  Privileges  and  wages  of  members  of  Legislature  unlimited 
and  undefined. 

5.  Senate  badly  constituted  and  improperly  barred  of  the 
originating  of  Laws. 

6.  Equality  of  representation  not  provided  for.     See  N.  Y., 
P.  65;  S.  C.,  P.  165. 

7.  Impeachments  of  great  moment  on  bad  footing. 

1784.  BRITISH    DEBTS.  83 

8.  County  courts  seem  to  be  fixed,  P.  143,  144;  also  general 

9.  Habeas  corpus  omitted. 

10.  No  mode  of  expounding  Constitution,  and  of  course  no 
check  to  Gen1  Assembly. 

11.  Right  of  suffrage  not  well  fixed — quaere,  if  popish  recu 
sants,  <fcc,,  not  disfranchised? 

IV.  Constitution  rests  on  acquiescence — a  bad  basis. 

V.  Revision  during  war  improper;  on  return  of  peace,  de 
cency  requires  surrender  of  powers  to  people. 

VI.  No  danger  in  referring  to  the  people,  who  already  exer 
cise  an  equivalent  power. 

VII.  If  no  change  be  made  in  the  Constitution,  it  is  advisable 
to  have  it  ratified  and  secured  against  the  doubts  and  imputa 
tions  under  which  it  now  labors. 

[Proposition  of  Mr.  Madison,  on  the  subject  of  British  Debts,  submitted  to  the 
House  of  Delegates  of  Virginia,  at  the  May  session,  1784 :] 

Whereas  by  the  4th  article  of  the  Definitive  Treaty  of  peace, 
ratified  and  proclaimed  by  the  United  States  in  Congress  as 
sembled,  on  the  14th  day  of  Jany.  last,  "it  is  agreed  that  credi 
tors  on  either  side  shall  meet  with  no  lawful  impediment  to  the 
recovery  of  the  full  value  in  sterling  money  of  all  bbna  fide 
debts  heretofore  contracted;"  and  whereas  it  is  the  duty  and 
determination  of  this  Commonwealth,  with  a  becoming  rever 
ence  for  the  faith  of  Treaties,  truly  and  honestly  to  give  to  the 
said  article  all  the  effect  which  circumstances  not  within  its 
controul  will  now  possibly  admit;  and  inasmuch  as  the  debts 
due  from  the  good  people  of  this  Commonwealth  to  the  subjects 
of  G.  Britain  were  contracted  under  the  prospect  of  gradual 
payments,  and  are  justly  computed  to  exceed  the  possibility  of 
full  payment  at  once,  more  especially  under  the  diminution  of 
their  property  resulting  from  the  devastations  of  the  late  war, 
and  it  is  therefore  conceived  that  the  interest  of  the  British 
Creditors  themselves  will  be  favored  by  fixing  certain  reason 
able  periods  at  which  divided  payments  shall  be  made : 

84  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

Resolved,  that  it  is  the  opinion  of  this  committee  that  the 
laws  now  in  force  relative  to  British  debts  ought  to  be  so  varied 
and  emended  as  to  make  the  same  recoverable  in  the  propor 
tions  and  at  the  periods  following;  that  is  to  say,  part  thereof, 
with  interest  of  5  pr  ct.  from  the  date  of  the  Definitive  Treaty 

of  peace,  on  the  —  day  of ,  another  on  the  —  day  of  -  — , 

another  on  the  —  day  of ,  and  the  remaining  on  the  —  day 

of . 

And  whereas  it  is  further  stipulated  by  Art.  7th  of  the  said 
Treaty,  among  other  things,  that  "his  Britannic  Majesty  shall 
with  all  convenient  speed,  and  without  causing  any  destruction, 
or  carrying  away  any  negroes  or  other  property  of  the  Ameri 
can  inhabitants,  withdraw  all  his  armies,  garrisons,  and  fleets, 
from  the  said  United  States,  and  from  every  port,  place,  and 
Harbour,  within  the  same,  leaving  in  all  fortifications  the  Amer 
ican  artillery  that  may  be  therein,  and  shall  also  order  and 
cause  all  archives,  records,  deeds,  and  papers,  belonging  to  any 
of  the  said  States,  or  their  citizens,  which  in  the  course  of  the 
war  may  have  fallen  into  the  hands  of  his  officers,  to  be  forth 
with  restored  and  delivered  to  the  proper  States  and  persons 
to  whom  they  belong,"  which  stipulation  was  in  the  same 
words  contained  in  the  Provisional  articles,  signed  at  Paris  on 
the  30th  day  of  November,  1782,  by  the  Commissioners  em 
powered  on  each  part;  and  whereas  posterior  to  the  date  of 
the  said  provisional  articles,  sundry  negroes,  the  property  of 
citizens  of  this  Commonwealth,  were  carried  away  from  the  city 
of  New  York  whilst  in  possession  of  the  British  forces,  and  no 
restitution  or  satisfaction  on  that  head  has  been  made,  either 
before  or  since  the  Definitive  Treaty  of  Peace;  and  whereas 
the  good  people  of  this  Commonwealth  have  a  clear  right  to 
expect  that  whilst,  on  one  side,  they  are  called  upon  by  the  U. 
S.  in  Congress  assembled,  to  whom  by  the  federal  Constitution 
the  powers  of  War  and  Peace  are  exclusively  delegated,  to 
carry  into  effect  the  stipulations  in  favour  of  British  subjects, 
an  equal  observance  of  the  stipulations  in  their  own  favor 
should,  on  the  other  side,  be  duly  secured  to  them  under  the 
authority  of  the  confederacy  : 

1784.  LETTERS.  85 

Resolved,  that  it  is  the  opinion  of  this  Committee  that  the 
Delegates  representing  this  State  in  Congress  ought  to  be  in 
structed  to  urge  in  Congress  peremptory  measures  for  obtain 
ing  from  G.  Britain  satisfaction  for  the  infringement  of  the 
article  aforesaid;  and  in  case  of  refusal  or  unreasonable  delay 
of  such  satisfaction,  to  urge  that  the  sanction  of  Congress  be 
given  to  the  just  policy  of  retaining  so  much  of  the  debts  due 
from  citizens  of  this  Commonwealth  to  British  subjects  as  will 
fully  repair  the  losses  sustained  from  such  infringement;  and 
that  to  enable  the  said  Delegates  to  proceed  herein  with  the 
greater  precision  and  effect,  the  Executive  ought  to  be  requested 
to  take  immediate  measures  for  obtaining  and  transmitting  to 
them  all  just  claims  of  the  citizens  of  this  Commonwealth  under 
the  7th  art.,  as  aforesaid. 


RICHMOND,  July  2d,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  sanction  given  by  your  favor  of  the  12th  to 
my -desire  of  remunerating  the  genius  which  produced  "  Common 
Sense,"  has  led  to  a  trial  in  the  Legislature  for  the  purpose. 
The  gift  first  proposed  was  a  moiety  of  the  tract  on  the  Eastern 
Shore  known  by  the  name  of  the  Secretary's  land.  The  easy 
reception  it  found  induced  the  friends  of  the  measure  to  add  the 
other  moity  to  the  proposition,  which  would  have  raised  the 
market  value  of  the  donation  to  about  £4,000,  or  upwards; 
though  it  would  not  probably  have  commanded  a  rent  of  more 
than  XI 00  per  annum.  In  this  form  the  Bill  passed  through 
two  readings.  The  third  reading  proved  that  the  tide  had 
suddenly  changed,*  for  the  Bill  was  thrown  out  by  a  large 
majority.  An  attempt  was  next  made  to  sell  the  land  in  ques 
tion,  and  apply  £2,000  of  the  money  to  the  purchase  of  a  Farm 
for  Mr.  Paine.  This  was  lost  by  a  single  vote.  Whether  a 

*  The  change  was  produced  by  prejudices  against  Mr.  Paine,  thrown  into  cir 
culation  by  Mr.  Arthur  Lee,  [on  account  of  Paine's  pamphlet  in  opposition  to 
the  Territorial  claims  of  Virginia.] 

gfl  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

greater  disposition  to  reward  patriotic  and  distinguished  exer 
tions  of  genius  will  be  found  on  any  succeeding  occasion  is  not 
for  me  to  predetermine.  Should  it  finally  appear  that  the 
merits  of  the  Man,  whose  writings  have  so  much  contributed  to 
infuse  and  foster  the  spirit  of  Independence  in  the  people  of 
America,  are  unable  to  inspire  them  with  a  just  beneficence,  the 
world,  it  is  to  be  feared,  will  give  us  as  little  credit  for  our 
policy  as  for  our  gratitude  in  this  particular.  The  wish  of  Mr. 
Paine  to  be  provided  for  by  separate  acts  of  the  States,  rather 
than  by  Congress,  is,  I  think,  a  natural  and  just  one.  In  the 
latter  case  it  might  be  construed  into  the  wages  of  a  mercenary 
writer.  In  the  former,  it  would  look  like  the  returns  of  grati 
tude  for  voluntary  services.  Upon  the  same  principle,  the  mode 
wished  by  Mr.  Paine  ought  to  be  preferred  by  the  States  them 


RICHMOND,  July  3d,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  Assembly  adjourned  the  day  before  yester 
day.  I  have  been  obliged  to  remain  here  since  on  private  busi 
ness  for  my  Countrymen  with  the  Auditor's  and  other  depart 
ments.  I  had  allotted  towards  the  close  of  the  session  to  un 
dertake  a  narration  for  you  of  the  proceedings,  but  the  hurry, 
on  which  I  did  not  sufficiently  calculate,  rendered  it  impossible, 
and  I  now  find  myself  so  abridged  in  time  that  I  cannot  fulfil 
iny  intentions.  It  will,  however,  be  the  less  material,  as  Mr. 
Short,  by  whom  this  goes,  will  be  possessed  of  almost  every 
thing  I  could  say.  I  inclose  you  a  list  of  the  acts  passed,  ex 
cepting  a  few  which  had  not  received  the  last  solemnity  when 
the  list  went  to  the  press.  Among  the  latter  is  an  Act  under 
which  1  per  cent,  of  the  land  tax  will  be  collected  this  fall,  and 
will  be  for  Congress.  This,  with  the  1 J  per  cent,  added  to  the 
impost  on  trade,  will  be  all  that  Congress  will  obtain  on  their 
last  requisition  for  this  year.  It  will  be  much  short  of  what 
they  need,  and  of  what  might  be  expected  from  the  declarations 

1784.  LETTERS.  87 

with  which  we  introduced  the  business  of  the  Session.  These 
declarations  will  be  seen  in  the  Journal,  a  copy  of  which  I  take 
for  granted  will  be  carried  by  Mr.  Short.  Another  act  not  or, 
the  list  lays  duties  on  law  proceedings,  on  alienations  of  land, 
on  probats  of  wills,  administration,  and  some  other  transactions 
which  pass  through  official  hands.  This  tax  may  be  considered 
as  the  basis  of  a  stamp  tax;  it  will  probably  yield  fifteen  or 
twenty  thousand  pounds  at  present,  which  is  set  apart  for  the 
foreign  Creditors  of  this  State. 

We  made  a  warm  struggle  for  the  establishment  of  Norfolk 
and  Alexandria  as  our  only  ports;  but  were  obliged  to  add 
York,  Tappahannock,  and  Bermuda  hundred,  in  order  to  gain 
any  thing  and  to  restrain  to  these  ports  foreigners  only.  The 
footing  on  which  British  debts  are  put  will  appear  from  the 
Journal,  noting  only  that  a  law  is  now  in  force  which  forbids 
suits  for  them.  The  minority  in  the  Senate  have  protested  on 
the  subject.  Having  not  seen  the  protest,  I  must  refer  to  Mr. 
Short,  who  will  no  doubt  charge  himself  with  it. 

A  trial  was  made  for  a  State  Convention,  but  in  a  form  not 
the  most  lucky.  The  adverse  temper  of  the  House,  and  partic 
ularly  of  Mr.  Henry,  had  determined  me  to  be  silent  on  the 
subject.  But  a  petition  from  Augusta,  having  among  other 
things  touched  on  a  Reform  of  the  Government,  and  R.  H.  Lee 
arriving  with  favorable  sentiments,  we  thought  it  might  not  be 
amiss  to  stir  the  matter.  Mr.  Stuart,  from  Augusta,  accord 
ingly  proposed  to  the  Committee  of  propositions  the  Resolutions 
reported  to  the  House,  as  per  Journal.  Unluckily,  R.  H.  Lee 
was  obliged  by  sickness  to  leave  us  the  day  before  the  question 
came  on  in  committee  of  the  whole,  and  Mr.  Henry  shewed  a 
more  violent  opposition  than  we  expected.  The  consequence 
was,  that  after  two  days'  Debate  the  Report  was  negatived,  and 
the  majority,  not  content  with  stopping  the  measure  for  the  pres 
ent,  availed  themselves  of  their  strength  to  put  a  supposed  bar 
on  the  Journal  against  a  future  possibility  of  carrying  it.  The 
members  for  a  Convention  with  full  powers  were  not  consider 
able  for  number,  but  included  most  of  the  young  men  of  educa 
tion  and  talents.  A  great  many  would  have  concurred  in  a 

gg  WORKS     OF    MADISON.  1781. 

Convention  for  specified  amendments,  but  they  were  not  dis 
posed  to  be  active  even  for  such  a  qualified  plan. 

Several  petitions  came  forward  in  behalf  of  a  General  assess 
ment,  which  was  reported  by  the  Committee  of  Religion  to  be 
reasonable.  The  friends  of  the  measure  did  not  chuse  to  try 
their  strength  in  the  House.  The  Episcopal  Clergy  introduced 
a  notable  project  for  re-establishing  their  independence  of  the 
laity.  The  foundation  of  it  was,  that  the  whole  body  should  be 
legally  incorporated,  invested  with  the  present  property  of  the 
Church,  made  capable  of  acquiring  indefinitely,  empowered  to 
make  canons  and  bye-laws  not  contrary  to  the  laws  of  the  land, 
and  incumbents,  when  once  chosen  by  vestries,  to  be  immoveable 
otherwise  than  by  sentence  of  the  convocation.  Extraordinary 
as  such  a  project  was,  it  was  preserved  from  a  dishonorable  death 
by  the  talents  of  Mr.  Henry.  It  lies  over  for  another  session. 

The  public  lands  at  Richmond  not  wanted  for  public  use  are 
ordered  to  be  sold,  and  the  money,  aided  by  subscriptions,  to  be 
applied  to  the  erection  of  buildings  on  the  Hill,  as  formerly 
planned.  This  fixes  the  Government,  which  was  near  being 
made  as  vagrant  as  that  of  the  United  States,  by  a  coalition 
between  the  friends  of  Williamsburg  and  Staunton.  The  point 
was  carried  by  a  small  majority  only. 

The  lands  about  Williamsburg  are  given  to  the  University, 
and  are  worth,  Mr.  H.  Tazewell  thinks,  £10,000  to  it.  For  the 
encouragement  of  Mr.  Maury's  School,  licence  is  granted  for  a 
lottery  to  raise  not  more  than  £2,000. 

The  revisal  is  ordered  to  be  printed.  A  frivolous  economy 
restrained  the  number  of  copies  to  500.  I  shall  secure  the  num 
ber  you  want  and  forward  them  by  the  first  opportunity.  The 
three  revisors'  labour  was  recollected  on  this  occasion,  and 
£500  voted  for  each.  I  have  taken  out  your  warrant  in  five 
parts,  that  it  may  be  the  more  easily  converted  to  use.  It  is  to 
be  paid  out  of  the  first  unappropriated  money  in  the  Treasury, 
which  renders  its  value  very  precarious  unless  the  Treasurer 
should  be  willing  to  endorse  it  "  receivable  in  taxes,"  which  he 
is  not  obliged  to  do.  I  shall  await  your  orders  as  to  the  dis 
position  of  it. 

178k  LETTERS.  89 

An  effort  was  made  for  Paine,  and  the  prospect  once  flatter 
ing.  But  a  sudden  opposition  was  brewed  up,  which  put  a  neg 
ative  on  every  form  which  could  be  given  to  the  proposed  re 
muneration.  Mr.  Short  will  give  you  particulars. 

Col.  Mason,  the  Attorney,  Mr.  Henderson,  and  myself,  are  to 
negociate  with  Maryland,  if  she  will  appoint  Commissioners  to 
establish  regulations  for  the  Potowmac. 

Since  the  receipt  of  yours  of  May  8,  I  have  made  diligent  en 
quiry  concerning  the  several  schools  most  likely  to  answer  for 
the  education  of  your  nephews.  My  information  has  determined 
me  finally  to  prefer  that  of  Mr.  "W.  Maury,  as  least  exception 
able.  I  have  accordingly  recommended  it  to  Mrs.  Carr,  and 
on  receiving  her  answer  shall  write  to  Mr.  Maury,  pointing  out 
your  wishes  as  to  the  course  of  study  proper  for  Master  Carr. 
I  have  not  yet  made  up  any  opinion  as  to  the  disposition  of 
your  younger  nephew,  but  shall  continue  my  enquiries  till  I  can 
do  so.  I  find  a  greater  deficiency  of  proper  schools  than  I 
could  have  supposed,  low  as  my  expectations  were  on  the  sub 
ject.  All  that  I  can  assure  you  of  is,  that  I  shall  pursue  your 
wishes  with  equal  pleasure  and  faithfulness. 

Your  hint  for  appropriating  the  Slave  tax  to  Congress  fell  in 
precisely  with  the  opinion  I  had  formed  and  suggested  to  those 
who  are  most  attentive  to  our  finances.  The  existing  appro 
priation  of  half  of  it,  however,  to  the  military  debt,  was  deemed 
a  bar  to  such  a  measure.  I  wished  for  it  because  the  slave 
holders  are  Tobacco  makers,  and  will  generally  have  hard 
money,  which  alone  will  serve  for  Congress.  Nothing  can  ex 
ceed  the  confusion  which  reigns  throughout  our  revenue  depart 
ment.  We  attempted,  but  in  vain,  to  ascertain  the  amount  of 
our  debts  and  of  our  resources,  as  a  basis  for  something  like  a 
system.  Perhaps  by  the  next  session  the  information  may  be 
prepared.  This  confusion,  indeed,  runs  through  all  our  public 
affairs,  and  must  continue  as  long  as  the  present  mode  of  legis 
lating  continues.  If  we  cannot  amend  the  Constitution,  we 
must  at  least  call  in  the  aid  of  accurate  penmen  for  extending 
Resolutions  into  bills,  which  at  present  are  drawn  in  a  manner 

90  WOUKS    OF    MADISON.  1754. 

that  -must  soon  bring  our  laws  and  our  Legislature  into  con 
tempt  among  all  orders  of  Citizens. 

I  have  communicated  your  request  from  Philadelphia,  May 
25,  to  Mr.  Zane.  He  writes  by  Mr.  Short,  and  tells  me  he  is 
possessed  of  the  observations  which  he  promised  you.  I  found 
no  opportunity  of  broaching  a  scheme  for  opening  the  naviga 
tion  of  the  Potowmac  under  the  auspices  of  General  Washing 
ton,  or  of  providing  for  such  occurrences  as  the  case  of  Marbois. 
With  the  aid  of  the  Attorney,  perhaps  something  may  be  done 
on  the  1-atter  point  next  Session. 

Adieu,  my  dear  friend. 


ORANGE,  August  20th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  1st  July,  written  on  the  eve 
of  your  embarcation  from  Boston,  was  safely  delivered  by  your 
servant  Bob  about  the  20th  of  the  same  month.  Along  with  it 
I  received  the  pamphlet  on  the  West  India  trade,  and  a  copy  of 
Deane's  letters. 

My  last  was  written  from  Richmond  on  the  adjournment  of 
the  General  Assembly,  and  put  into  the  hands  of  Mr.  Short.  It 
contained  a  cursory  view  of  legislative  proceedings,  referring 
to  the  bearer  for  a  more  circumstantial  one.  Since  the  adjourn 
ment,  I  have  been  so  little  abroad  that  I  am  unable  to  say  with 
certainty  how  far  those  proceedings  harmonize  with  the  vox 
populi.  The  opinion  of  some  who  have  better  means  of  infor 
mation  is,  that  a  large  majority  of  the  people,  either  from  a 
sense  of  private  justice  or  of  national  faith,  dislike  the  footing 
on  which  British  debts  are  placed.  The  proceedings  relative 
to  an  amendment  of  the  State  Constitution  seem  to  interest  the 
public  much  less  than  a  friend  to  the  scheme  would  wish. 

The  act  which  produces  most  agitation  and  discussion  is  that 
which  restrains  foreign  trade  to  enumerated  ports.  Those  who 

1784.  LETTERS.  91 

meditate  a  revival  of  it  on  the  old  plan  of  British  monopoly 
and  diffusive  credit,  or  whose  mercantile  arrangements  might 
be  disturbed  by  the  innovation,  with  those  whose  local  situa 
tions  give  them,  or  are  thought  to  give  them,  an  advantage  in 
large  vessels  coming  up  the  rivers  to  their  usual  stations,  are 
busy  in  decoying  the  people  into  a  belief  that  trade  ought  in 
all  cases  to  be  left  to  regulate  itself;  that  to  confine  it  to  par 
ticular  ports  is  to  renounce  the  boon  with  which  nature  has 
favoured  our  country;  and  that  if  one  set  of  men  are  to  be  im 
porters  and  exporters,  another  set  to  be  carryers  between  the 
mouths  and  heads  of  the  rivers,  and  a  third  retailers,  trade,  as 
it  must  pass  through  so  many  hands,  all  taking  a  profit,  must 
in  the  end  come  dearer  to  the  people  than  if  the  simple  plan 
should  be  continued  which  unites  these  several  branches  in  the 
same  hands. 

These  and  other  objections,  tho'  unsound,  are  not  altogether 
unplausible,  and  being  propagated  with  more  zeal  and  pains  by 
those  who  have  a  particular  interest  to  serve  than  proper  an 
swers  are  by  those  who  regard  the  general  interest  only,  make 
it  very  possible  that  the  measure  may  be  rescinded  before  it  is 
to -take  effect.  Should  it  escape  such  a  fate,  it  will  be  owing 
to  a  few  striking  and  undeniable  facts,  namely,  that  goods  are 
much  dearer  in  Virginia  than  in  the  States  where  trade  is  drawn 
to  a  general  mart;  that  even  goods  brought  from  Philadelphia 
and  Baltimore  to  Winchester,  and  other  Western  and  South 
Western  parts  of  Virginia,  are  retailed  cheaper  than  those  im 
ported  directly  from  Europe  are  sold  on  tide  water;  that  gen 
erous  as  the  present  price  of  our  Tobacco  appears,  the  same 
article  has  currently  sold  15  or  20  per  cent,  at  least  higher  in 
Philadelphia,  where,  being  as  far  from  the  ultimate  market,  it 
cannot  be  intrinsically  worth  more;  that  scarce  a  single  vessel 
from  any  part  of  Europe,  other  than  the  British  Dominions, 
comes  into  our  ports,  whilst  vessels  from  so  many  other  parts 
of  Europe  resort  to  other  ports  of  America,  almost  all  of  them, 
too,  in  pursuit  of  the  staple  of  Virginia. 

The  exemption  of  our  own  citizens  from  the  restrictions  is 
another  circumstance  that  helps  to  parry  attacks  on  the  policy 

92  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784. 

of  it.  The  warmest  friends  to  the  law  were  averse  to  this  dis 
crimination,  which  not  only  departs  from  its  principle,  but  gives 
it  an  illiberal  aspect  to  foreigners;  but  it  was  a  necessary  con 
cession  to  prevailing  sentiments.  The  like  discrimination  be 
tween  our  own  citizens  and  those  of  other  States,  contrary  to 
the  federal  articles,  is  an  erratum  which  was  omitted  to  be  rec 
tified,  but  will  no  doubt  be  so. 

Notwithstanding  the  languor  of  our  direct  trade  with  Europe, 
this  country  has  indirectly  tasted  some  of  the  fruits  of  Independ 
ence.  The  price  of  our  last  crop  of  Tobacco  has  been,  on 
James  River,  from  36s.  to  42s.  tid.  pr  cwt.,  and  has  brought  more 
specie  into  the  country  than  it  ever  before  contained  at  one 
time.  The  price  of  Hemp,  however,  has  been  reduced  as  much 
by  the  peace  as  that  of  Tobacco  has  been  raised,  being  sold,  I 
am  told,  as  low  as  20s.  per  cwt.  beyond  the  Mountains.  Our 
crops  of  wheat  have  been  rather  scanty,  owing  partly  to  the 
rigors  of  the  Winter,  partly  to  an  insect,*  which  in  many  places 
has  destroyed  whole  fields  of  that  grain.  The  same  insect  has, 
since  the  harvest,  fallen  upon  the  Corn  with  considerable  dam 
age;  but  without  some  very  unusual  disaster  to  that  article  the 
crop  will  be  exuberant,  and  will  afford  plentiful  supplies  for 
the  W.  India  Islands,  if  their  European  Masters  will  no  longer 
deny  themselves  the  benefit  of  such  a  trade  with  us.  The  crop 
of  the  Tobacco  now  on  the  ground  will,  if  the  weather  continues 
favorable,  be  tolerably  good,  though  much  shortened  on  the 
whole  by  the  want  of  early  seasons  for  transplanting,  and  an 
uncommon  number  of  the  insects  which  prey  upon  it  in  its  dif 
ferent  stages.  It  will  be  politic,  I  think,  for  the  people  here  to 
push  the  culture  of  this  article  whilst  the  price  keeps  up,  it  be 
coming  more  apparent  every  day  that  the  richness  of  soil  and 
fitness  of  climate  on  the  Western  waters  will,  in  a  few  years, 
both  reduce  the  price  and  engross  the  culture  of  it.  This  event 
begins  to  be  generally  foreseen,  and  increases  the  demand 
greatly  for  land  on  the  Ohio.  What  think  you  of  a  guinea  an 
acre  being  already  the  price  for  choice  tracts,  with  sure  titles? 

*  Chinch-bug. 

1784.  LETTERS.  93 

Nothing  can  delay  such  a  revolution  with  regard  to  our  staple 
but  an  impolitic  and  perverse  attempt  in  Spain  to  shut  the 
mouth  of  the  Mississippi  against  the  inhabitants  above.  I  say 
delay,  because  she  can  no  more  finally  stop  the  current  of  trade 
down  the  river  than  she  can  that  of  the  river  itself.  The  im 
portance  of  this  matter  is  in  almost  every  mouth.  I  am  fre 
quently  asked  what  progress  has  been  made  towards  a  treaty 
with  Spain,  and  what  may  be  expected  from  her  liberality  on 
this  point,  the  querists  all  counting  on  an  early  ability  in  the 
western  settlements  to  apply  to  other  motives,  if  necessary. 
My  answers  have,  both  from  ignorance  and  prudence,  been  e^Ta- 
sive.  I  have  not  thought  fit,  however,  to  cherish  unfavorable 
impressions,  being  more  and  more  led  by  revolving  the  subject 
to  conclude  that  Spain  will  never  be  so  mad  as  to  persist  in  her 
present  ideas.  For  want  of  better  matter  for  correspondence, 
I  will  state  the  grounds  on  which  I  build  my  expectations. 

First.  Apt  as  the  policy  of  nations  is  to  disregard  justice  and 
the  general  rights  of  mankind,  I  deem  it  no  small  advantage 
that  these  considerations  are  in  our  favour.  They  must  be  felt 
in  some  degree  by  the  most  corrupt  councils  on  a  question 
whether  the  interest  of  millions  shall  be  sacrificed  to  views  con 
cerning  a  distant  and  paltry  settlement;  they  are  every  day 
acquiring  weight  from,  the  progress  of  philosophy  and  civiliza 
tion,  and  they  must  operate  on  those  nations  of  Europe  who 
have  given  us  a  title  to  their  friendly  offices,  or  who  may  wish 
to  gain  a  title  to  ours. 

Secondly.  May  not  something  be  hoped  from  the  respect  which 
Spain  may  feel  for  consistency  of  character  on  an  appeal  to  the 
doctrine  maintained  by  herself  in  the  year  1609,  touching  the 
Sclield,  or  at  least  from  the  use  which  may  be  made  of  that  fact 
by  the  powers  disposed  to  favor  our  views  ? 

Thirdly.  The  interest  of  Spain  at  least  ought  to  claim  her 
attention.  1.  A  free  trade  down  the  Mississippi  would  make 
New  Orleans  one  of  the  most  flourishing  emporiums  in  the 
world,  and  deriving  its  happiness  from  the  benevolence  of 
Spain,  it  would  feel  a  firm  loyalty  to  her  government.  At  present 
it  is  an  expensive  establishment,  settled  chiefly  by  French,  who 

94  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1734. 

hate  the  government  which  oppresses  them,  who  already  covet 
a  trade  with  the  upper  country,  will  become  every  day  more 
sensible  of  the  rigor  which  denies  it  to  them,  and  will  join  in 
any  attempt  which  may  be  made  against  their  masters.  2d.  A 
generous  policy  on  the  part  of  Spain  towards  the  United  States 
will  be  the  cement  of  friendship  and  lasting  peace  with  them. 
A  contrary  one  will  produce  immediate  heart  burnings,  and  sow 
the  seeds  of  inevitable  hostility.  The  United  States  are  already 
a  power  not  to  be  despised  by  Spain;  the  time  cannot  be  distant 
when,  in  spite  of  all  precautions,  the  safety  of  her  possessions 
in  this  quarter  of  the  Globe  must  depend  more  on  our  peace- 
ableness  than  her  own  power.  3.  In  another  view,  it  is  against 
the  interest  of  Spain  to  throw  obstacles  in  the  way  of  our  West 
ern  settlements.  The  part  she  took  during  the  late  war  shews 
that  she  apprehended  less  from  the  power  growing  up  in  her 
neighborhood  in  a  state  of  independence  than  as  an  instrument 
in  the  hands  of  Great  Britain.  If  in  this  she  calculated  on  the 
impotence  of  the  United  States,  when  dismembered  from  the 
British  empire,  she  saw  but  little  way  into  futurity;  if  on  the 
pacific  temper  of  republics,  unjust  irritations  on  her  part  will 
soon  prove  to  her  that  these  have  like  passions  with  other  gov 
ernments.  Her  permanent  security  seems  to  lie  in  the  complexity 
of  our  federal  government,  and  the  diversity  of  interests  among 
the  members  of  it,  which  render  offensive  measures  improbable 
in  council  and  difficult  in  execution.  If  such  be  the  case,  when 
thirteen  States  compose  the  system,  ought  she  not  to  wish  to 
see  the  number  enlarged  to  three  and  twenty  ?  A  source  of 
temporary  security  to  her  is  our  want  of  naval  strength:  ought 
she  not,  then,  to  favor  those  emigrations  to  the  Western  land 
which,  as  long  as  they  continue,  will  leave  no  supernumerary 
hands  for  the  sea  ? 

Fourthly.  Should  none  of  these  circumstances  affect  her 
councils,  she  cannot  surely  so  far  disregard  the  usage  of  nations 
as  to  contend  that  her  possessions  at  the  mouth  of  the  Missis 
sippi  justify  a  total  denial  of  the  use  of  it  to  the  inhabitants 
above,  when  possessions  much  less  disproportionate  at  the  mouth 
of  other  rivers  have  been  admitted  only  as  a  title  to  a  moderate 

1784.  LETTERS.  95 

toll.  The  case  of  the  Rhine,  the  Maese,  and  the  Scheld,  as  well 
as  the  Elbe  and  Oder,  are,  if  I  mistake  not,  in  point  here.  How 
far  other  Rivers  may  afford  parallel  cases,  I  cannot  say.  That 
of  the  Mississippi  is  probably  the  strongest  in  the  world. 

Fifthly.  Must  not  the  general  interest  of  Europe  in  all  cases 
influence  the  determinations  of  any  particular  nation  in  Europe, 
and  does  not  that  interest  in  the  present  case  clearly  lie  on  our 
side?  1.  All  the  principal  powers  have,  in  a  general  view, 
more  to  gain  than  to  lose  by  denying  a  right  of  those  who  hold 
the  mouths  of  rivers  to  intercept  a  communication  with  them 
above.  France,  Great  Britain,  and  Sweden,  have  no  opportu 
nity  of  exerting  such  a  right,  and  must  wish  a  free  passage  for 
their  merchandize  in  every  country.  Spain  herself  has  no  such 
opportunity,  and  has,  besides,  three  of  her  principal  rivers,  one 
of  them  the  seat  of  her  metropolis,  running  through  Portugal. 
Russia  can  have  nothing  to  lose  by  denying  this  pretension,  and 
is  bound  to  do  so  in  favor  of  her  great  rivers,  the  Neiper,  the 
Niester,  and  the  Don,  which  mouth  in  the  Black  sea,  and  of  the 
passage  thro'  the  Dardanelles,  which  she  extorted  from  the 
Turks.  The  Emperor,  in  common  with  the  inland  States  of 
Germany,  and,  moreover,  by  his  possessions  on  the  Maese  and 
the  Scheld,  has  a  similar  interest.  The  possessions  of  the  King 
of  Prussia  on  the  Rhine,  the  Elbe,  and  the  Oder,  are  pledges 
for  his  orthodoxy. 

The  United  Provinces  hold,  it  is  true,  the  mouths  of  the 
Maese,  the  Rhine,  and  the  Scheld,  but  a  general  freedom  of 
trade  is  so  much  their  policy,  and  they  now  carry  on  so  much 
of  it  through  the  channel  of  rivers  flowing  thro'  different  do 
minions,  that  their  weight  can  hardly  be  thrown  into  the  wrong 
scale.  The  only  powers  that  can  have  an  interest  in  opposing 
the  American  doctrine  are  the  Ottoman,  which  has  already 
given  up  the  point  to  Russia;  Denmark,  which  is  suffered  to  re 
tain  the  entrance  of  the  Baltic;  Portugal,  whose  principal  rivers 
head  in  Spain;  Venice,  which  holds  the  mouth  of  the  Po;  and 
Dantzick,  which  commands  that  of  the  Vistula,  if  it  is  yet  to  be 
considered  as  a  sovereign  City.  The  prevailing  disposition  of 
Europe  on  this  point  once  frustrated  an  attempt  of  Denmark 

96  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784. 

to  exact  a  toll  at  the  mouth  of  the  Elbe  by  means  of  a  fort  on 
the  Holstein  side,  which  commands  it.  The  fact  is  mentioned 
in  Salmon's  Gazetteer,  under  the  head  of  Cluestadt.  I  have  no 
opportunity  of  ascertaining  the  circumstances  of  the  case,  or  of 
discovering  like  cases. 

2.  In  a  more  important  view,  the  settlement  of  the  Western 
country,  which  will  much  depend  on  the  free  use  of  the  Missis 
sippi,  will  be  beneficial  to  all  nations  who  either  directly  or  in 
directly  trade  with  the  United  States.  By  a  free  expansion  of 
our  people  the  establishment  of  internal  manufactures  will  not 
only  be  long  delayed,  but  the  consumption  of  foreign  manufac 
tures  long  continue  increasing;  and  at  the  same  time,  all  the 
productions  of  the  American  soil,  required  by  Europe  in  return 
for  her  manufactures,  will  proportionably  increase.  The  vacant 
land  of  the  United  States  lying  on  the  waters  of  the  Mississippi 
is,  perhaps,  equal  in  extent  to  the  land  actually  settled.  If  no 
check  be  given  to  the  emigrations  from  the  latter  to  the  former, 
they  will  probably  keep  pace  at  least  with  the  increase  of  our 
people,  till  the  population  of  both  becomes  nearly  equal.  For 
twenty  or  twenty-five  years  we  shall  consequently  have  as  few 
internal  manufactures  in  proportion  to  our  numbers  as  at  pres 
ent,  and  at  the  end  of  that  period  our  imported  manufactures 
will  be  doubled.  It  may  be  observed,  too,  that  as  the  market 
for  their  manufactures  will  first  increase,  and  the  provision  for 
'supplying  it  will  follow,  the  price  of  supplies  will  naturally  rise 
in  favor  of  those  who  manufacture  them.  On  the  other  hand, 
as  the  demand  for  the  tobacco,  indigo,  rice,  corn,  <fec.,  produced 
by  America  for  exportation,  will  neither  precede  nor  keep  pace 
with  their  increase,  the  price  must  naturally  sink  in  favor  also 
of  those  who  consume  them. 

Reverse  the  case  by  supposing  the  use  of  the  Mississippi  de 
nied  to  us,  and  the  consequence  is,  that  many  of  our  supernu 
merary  hands  who,  in  the  former  case,  would  bo  husbandmen  on 
the  waters  of  the  Mississippi,  will,  on  the  latter  supposition,  be 
manufacturers  on  those  of  the  Atlantic,  and  even  those  who  may 
not  be  discouraged  from  seating  the  vacant  lands  will  be  obliged, 
by  the  want  of  vent  for  the  produce  of  the  soil,  and  of  the  means 

1784.  LETTERS.  97 

of  purchasing  foreign  manufactures,  to  manufacture  in  a  great 
measure  for  themselves. 

Should  Spain  yield  the  point  of  the  navigation  of  the  Missis 
sippi,  but  at  the  same  time  refuse  us  the  use  of  her  shores,  the 
benefit  will  be  ideal  only.  I  have  conversed  with  several  per 
sons  who  have  a  practical  knowledge  of  the  subject,  all  of  whom 
assure  me  that  not  only  the  right  of  fastening  to  the  Spanish 
shore,  but  that  of  holding  an  entrepot  in  our  own,  or  of  using 
New  Orleans  as  a  free  port,  is  essential  to  a  free  trade  through 
that  channel.  It  has  been  said  that  sea  vessels  can  get  up  as 
high  as  latitude  thirty-two  to  meet  the  river  craft,  but  it  will 
be  with  so  much  difficulty  and  disadvantage  as  to  amount  to  a 

The  idea  has  also  been  suggested  of  large  magazines  con 
structed  for  floating;  but  if  this  expedient  were  otherwise  ad 
missible,  the  hurrica'nes,  which  in  that  quarter  frequently  de 
molish  edifices  on  land,  forbid  the  least  confidence  in  those 
which  would  have  no  foundation  but  water.  Some  territorial 
privileges,  therefore,  seem  to  be  as  indispensable  to  the  use  of 
the  river  as  this  is  to  the  prosperity  of  the  western  country. 

A  place  called  "  The  Englishman's  turn,"  on  the  island  of 
about  six  leagues  below  the  town  of  New  Orleans,  is,  I  am  told, 
the  fittest  for  our  purpose,  and  that  the  lower  side  of  the  pen 
insula  is  the  best.  Batonrouge  is  also  mentioned  as  a  conve 
nient  station;  and  Point  Coupk  as  the  highest  to  which  vessels 
can  ascend  with  tolerable  ease.  Information,  however,  of  this, 
from  men  who  judge  from  a  general  and  superficial  view  only, 
ran  never  be  received  as  accurate.  If  Spain  be  sincerely  dis 
posed  to  gratify  us,  I  hope  she  will  be  sensible  it  cannot  be 
done  effectually  without  allowing  a  previous  survey  and  delib 
erate  choice. 

Should  it  be  impossible  to  obtain  from  her  a  portion  of  ground 
by  other  means,  would  it  be  unadvisable  to  attempt  it  by  pur 
chase  ?  The  price  demanded  could  not  well  exceed  the  benefit 
to  be  obtained,  and  a  reimbursement  of  the  public  advance 
might  easily  be  provided  for  by  the  sale  to  individuals,  and  the 
conditions  which  might  be  annexed  to  their  tenures.  Such  a 

VOL.    I  7 

98  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1734. 

spot  could  not  fail,  in  a  little  time,  to  equal  in  value  tlie  same 
extent  in  London  or  Amsterdam. 

The  most  intelligent  of  those  with  whom  I  have  conversed 
think  that,  on  whatever  footing  our  trade  may  be  allowed,  very 
judicious  provision  will  be  necessary  for  a  fair  adjustment  of 
disputes  between  the  Spaniards  and  the  Americans — disputes 
which  must  be  not  only  noxious  to  trade,  but  tend  to  embroil 
the  two  nations.  Perhaps  a  joint  tribunal,  under  some  modifica 
tion  or  other,  might  answer  the  purpose.  There  is  a  precedent, 
I  see,  for  such  an  establishment,  in  the  twenty-first  article  of  the 
treaty  of  Minister,  in  1648,  between  Spain  and  the  United  Neth 

I  am  informed  that,  sometime  after  New  Orleans  passed  into 
the  hands  of  Spain,  her  Governor  forbid  all  British  vessels  nav 
igating  under  the  treaty  of  Paris  to  fasten  to  the  shore,  and 
caused  such  as  did  so  to  be  cut  loose.  In  consequence  of  this 
practice  a  British  frigate  went  up  near  the  Town,  fastened  to 
the  shore,  and  set  out  guards  to  fire  on  any  who  might  attempt 
to  cut  her  loose.  The  Governor,  after  trying  in  vain  to  remove 
the  frigate  by  menaces,  acquiesced,  after  which  British  vessels 
indiscriminately  used  the  shore;  and  even  the  residence  of  British 
Merchants  in  the  town  of  New  Orleans,  trading  clandestinely 
with  the  Spaniards,  as  well  as  openly  with  their  own  people,  was 
winked  at.  The  Treaty  of  1763  stipulated  to  British  subjects, 
as  well  as  I  recollect,  no  more  than  the  right  of  navigating  the 
river;  and  if  that  of  using  was  admitted  under  that  stipulation, 
the  latter  right  must  have  been  admitted  to  be  included  in  the 



In  consequence  of  my  letter  to  Mrs.  Carr,  I  have  been  called 
on  by  your  elder  nephew,  who  is  well  satisfied  with  the  choice 
made  of  Williamsburg  for  his  future  studies.  I  have  furnished 
him  with  letters  to  my  acquaintance  there,  and  with  a  draught 
on  your  steward  for  £12.  He  will  be  down  by  the  opening  of 
Mr.  Maury's  school  at  the  close  of  the  vacation,  which  lasts 
from  the  beginning  of  August  to  the  end  of  September.  I  have 
the  greater  hopes  that  the  preference  of  this  school  will  turn 

1784.  LETTERS.  99 

out  a  proper  one  as  it  lias  received  the  approbation  of  the  lit 
erary  gentlemen  of  Williamsburg,  and  will  be  periodically  ex 
amined  by  Mr.  Wythe  and  others.  Your  younger  nephew  is 
with  Major  Callis,  who  will  keep  school  some  time  longer.  I 
am  at  a  loss  as  yet  where  to  fix  him,  but  will  guard  as  much  as 
possible  against  any  idle  interval. 

I  am,  very  affectely,  dear  Sir,  your  friend  and  serv* 


PHILADELPHIA,  Sepr  7th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Some  business,  the  need  of  exercise  after  a  very 
sedentary  period,  and  the  view  of  extending  my  ramble  into  the 
Eastern  States,  which  I  have  long  had  a  curiosity  to  see.  have 
brought  me  to  this  place.  ******  At  Baltimore 
I  fell  in  with  the  Marquis  de  la  Fayette,  returning  from  a  visit 
to  Mount  Vernon.  Wherever  he  passes  he  receives  the  most 
flattering  tokens  of  sincere  affection  from  all  ranks.  He  did 
not  propose  to  have  left  Virginia  so  soon,  but  General  Wash 
ington  was  about  setting  out  on  a  trip  to  the  Ohio,  and  could 
not  then  accompany  him  on  some  visits,  as  he  wished  to  do. 
The  present  plan  of  the  Marquis  is  to  proceed  immediately  to 
New  York;  thence,  by  Rhode  Island,  to  Boston;  thence  thro' 
Albany  to  Fort  Schuyler,  where  a  treaty  with  the  Indians  is  to 
be  held  the  latter  end  of  this  month;  thence  to  Virginia,  so  as 
to  meet  the  Legislature  at  Richmond.  I  have  some  thoughts 
of  making  this  tour  with  him,  but  suspend  my  final  resolution 
till  I  get  to  New  York,  whither  I  shall  follow  him  in  a  day  or 

The  relation  in  which  the  Marquis  stands  to  France  and 
America  has  induced  me  to  enter  into  a  free  conversation  with 
him  on  the  subject  of  the  Mississippi.  I  have  endeavored  em 
phatically  to  impress  on  him  that  the  ideas  of  America  and  of 
Spain  irreconcileably  clash;  that  unless  the  mediation  of  France 
be  effectually  exerted,  an  actual  rupture  is  near  at  hand;  that 

100  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  i:Si. 

in  such  an  event,  the  connection  between  France  and  Spain  will 
give  the  enemies  of  the  former  in  America  the  fairest  opportu 
nity  of  involving  her  in  our  resentments  against  the  latter,  and 
of  introducing  Great  Britain  as  a  party  with  us  against  both; 
that  America  cannot  possibly  be  diverted  from  her  object,  and 
therefore  France  is  bound  to  set  every  engine  at  work  to  divert 
Spain  from  hers;  and  that  France  has,  besides,  a  great  interest 
in  a  trade  with  the  western  country  through  the  Mississippi. 

I  thought  it  not  amiss,  also,  to  suggest  to  him  some  of  the  con 
siderations  which  seem  to  appeal  to  the  prudence  of  Spain.  He 
admitted  the  force  of  everything  I  said;  told  me  he  would  write 
in  the  most  [favorable]  terms  to  the  Count  de  Vergennes  by  the 
packet  which  will  probably  carry  this,  and  let  me  see  his  letter 
at  New  York  before  he  sends  it.  He  thinks  that  Spain  is  bent 
on  excluding  us  from  the  Mississippi,  and  mentioned  several 
anecdotes  which  happened  while  he  was  at  Madrid  in  proof 
of  it. 

The  Committee  of  the  States  have  dispersed.  Several  of  the 
Eastern  members  having,  by  quitting  it,  reduced  the  number 
below  a  quorum,  the  impotent  remnant  thought  it  needless  to 
keep  together.  It  is  not  probable  they  will  be  reassembled  be 
fore  November,  so  that  there  will  be  an  entire  interregnum  of 
the  federal  Government  for  some  time,  against  the  intention  of 
Congress  I  apprehend,  as  well  as  against  every  rule  of  deco 

The  Marquis  this  moment  stepped  into  my  room,  and,  seeing 
my  cyphers  before  me,  dropped  some  questions  which  obliged 
me,  in  order  to  avoid  reserve,  to  let  him  know  that  I  was  wri 
ting  to  you.  I  said  nothing  of  the  subject,  but  he  will  probably 
infer  from  our  conversation  that  the  Mississippi  is  most  in  my 

Mrs.  House  charges  me  with  a  thousand  compliments  and 
kind  wishes  for  you  and  Miss  Patsy.  We  hear  nothing  of 
Mrs.  Trist,  since  her  arrival  at  the  Falls  of  the  Ohio,  on  her 
way  to  N.  Orleans.  There  is  no  doubt  that  she  proceeded 
down  the  river  thence,  unapprized  of  her  loss.  When  and  how 
she  will  be  able  to  get  back,  since  the  Spaniards  have  shut  all 

17&4.  LETTERS.  101 

their  ports  against  the  U.  S.,  is  uncertain,  and  gives  much 
anxiety  to  her  friends.  Browse  has  a  windfall  from  his  grand 
mother  of  £1,000  sterling. 

Present  my  regards  to  Miss  Patsy  and  to  Mr.  Short,  if  he 
should  be  with  you,  and  accept  yourself,  Dear  Sir,  the  sincerest 
affection  of 

Your  friend  and  servant. 


NEW  YORK,  Septr  15th,  1784. 

DEAR  Sin, — In  pursuance  of  my  intentions,  as  explained  in 
my  last,  dated  in  Philadelphia,  I  came  to  this  City  on  Saturday 
last.  The  information  I  have  here  received  convinces  me  that 
I  cannot  accomplish  the  whole  route  I  had  planned  within  the 
time  to  which  I  am  limited,  nor  go  from  this  to  Boston  in  the 
mode  which  I  had  reckoned  upon.  I  shall  therefore  decline 
this  part  of  my  plan,  at  least  for  the  present,  and  content  my 
self  with  a  trip  to  Fort  Schuyler,  in  which  I  shall  gratify  my 
curiosity  in  several  respects,  and  have  the  pleasure  of  the  Mar 
quis's  company.  We  shall  set  off  this  afternoon  in  a  Barge  up 
the  Xorth  River.  The  Marquis  has  received  in  this  City  a 
continuation  of  those  marks  of  cordial  esteem  and  affection 
which  were  hinted  in  my  last.  The  Gazettes  herewith  enclosed 
will  give  you  samples  of  them.  Besides  the  personal  homage 
he  receives,  his  presence  has  furnished  occasion  for  fresh  mani 
festations  of  those  sentiments  towards  France  which  have  been 
so  well  merited  by  her,  but  which  her  Enemies  pretended  would 
soon  give  way  to  returning  affection  for  G.  Britain.  In  this 
view,  a  republication  of  those  passages  in  the  Gazettes  of  France 
may  be  of  advantage  to  us.  They  will  at  least  give  pleasure 
to  the  Friends  of  the  Marquis. 

We  have  an  account  from  Canada,  how  far  to  be  relied  on  I 
cannot  say,  that  the  Indians  have  surprised  and  plundered  Micli- 
illimackinac,  where  the  English  had  a  great  amount  of  Stores 

102  WOEKS    OF    MADISON.  1734. 

and  Merchandize,  and  that  they  have  refused  to  treat  with  Sir 
John  Johnson. 


The  Marquis  has  shewn  me  a  passage  in  his  letter  to  the 
Count  de  Vergennes,  in  which  he  sketches  the  idea  relative  to 
the  Mississippi.  He  says  he  has  not  had  time  to  dilate  upon  it, 
but  that  his  next  letter  will  do  it  fully. 


NEW  YORK,  October  llth,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last,  dated  from  this  place  on  the  15th  ultimo, 
informed  you  of  my  projected  trip  to  Fort  Schuyler.  I  am  this 
moment  arrived  so  far  on  my  return  to  Virginia.  My  past  de 
lay  requires  so  much  hurry  now,  that  I  can  only  drop  a  few 
lines  for  the  packet  which  is  to  sail  on  the  15th  instant.  The 
Marquis  and  myself  were  overtaken  at  Albany  by  Mr.  de  Mar- 
bois,  on  the  same  errand  with  ourselves.  We  reached  Fort 
Schuyler  on  the  29th,  and  on  the  next  day  paid  a  visit  to  the 
Oneida  Nation,  18  miles  distant.  The  Commissioners  did  not 
get  up  till  the  Saturday  following.  We  found  a  small  portion 
only  of  the  six  nations  assembled;  nor  was  the  number  much 
increased  when  we  quitted  the  scene  of  business.  Accounts, 
however,  had  come  of  deputies  from  more  distant  tribes  being 
on  the  way.  The  Marquis  was  received  by  the  Indians  with 
equal  proofs  of  attachment  as  have  been  shewn  him  elsewhere 
in  America.  This  personal  attachment,  with  their  supposed 
predilection  for  his  nation,  and  the  reports  propagated  among 
them  that  the  Alliance  between  France  and  the  United  States 
was  transient  only,  led  him,  with  the  sanction  of  the  Commis 
sioners,  to  deliver  a  Speech  to  the  Indian  Chiefs,  coinciding  with 
the  object  of  the  Treaty.  The  answers  were  very  favorable  in 
their  general  tenor.  Copies  of  both  will  be  sent  to  Mon?..  de 
Vcrgcnnes  and  the  M.  de  Castries,  by  Mr.  Marbois,  and  bo 
within  the  reach  of  your  curiosity.  The  originals  were  so  much 

1784.  LETTERS.  10? 

appropriated  to  this  use  during  my  stay  with  the  Marquis,  that 
I  had  no  opportunity  of  providing  copies  for  you. 

What  the  upshot  of  the  Treaty  will  be  is  uncertain.  The 
possession  of  the  posts  of  Niagara,  &c.,  by  the  British  is  a  very 
inauspicious  circumstance.  Another  is,  that  we  are  not  likely 
to  make  a  figure  otherwise  that  will  impress  a  high  idea  of  em 
power  or  opulence.  These  obstacles  will  be  rendered  much 
more  embarrassing  by  the  instructions  to  the  Commissioners, 
which,  I  am  told,  leave  no  space  for  negociation  or  concession, 
and  will  consequently  oblige  them,  in  case  of  refusal  in  the  In 
dians  to  yield  the  ultimate  hopes  of  Congress,  to  break  up  the 
Treaty.  But  what  will  be  the  consequence  of  such  an  emer 
gency?  Can  they  grant  a  peace  without  cessions  of  territory;  or 
if  they  do,  must  not  some  other  price  hereafter  purchase  them  ? 
A  Truce  has  never,  I  believe,  been  introduced  with  the  Savages, 
nor  do  I  suppose  that  any  provision  has  been  made  by  Congress 
for  such  a  contingency. 

The  perseverance  of  the  British  in  retaining  the  posts  pro 
duces  various  conjectures.  Some  suppose  it  is  meant  to  enforce 
a  fulfilment  of  the  Treaty  of  peace  on  our  part.  This  interpre 
tation  is  said  to  have  been  thrown  out  on  the  other  side.  Others, 
that  it  is  a  salve  for  the  wound  given  the  Savages,  who  are 
made  to  believe  that  the  posts  will  not  be  given  up  till  good 
terms  shall  be  granted  them  by  Congress.  Others,  that  it  is 
the  effect  merely  of  omission  in  the  British  Government  to  send 
orders.  Others,  that  it  is  meant  to  fix  the  fur  trade  in  the 
British  channel,  and  it  is  even  said  that  the  Government  of 
Canada  has  a  personal  interest  in  securing  a  monopoly  of  at 
least  the  crop  of  this  season.  I  am  informed  by  a  person  just 
from  Michilimackinac  that  this  will  be  greater  than  it  has  been 
for  several  seasons  past,  or  perhaps  any  preceding  season,  and 
that  no  part  of  it  is  allowed  by  the  British  Commanders  to  be 
brought  through  the  United  States.  From  the  same  quarter  I 
learn  that  the  posts  have  been  lately  well  provisioned  for  the 
winter,  and  that  reliefs,  if  not  reinforcements,  of  the  garrisons 
will  take  place.  Col.  Monroe  had  passed  Oswego  when  last 
heard  of,  and  was  likely  to  execute  his  plan.  If  I  have  time 

104  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1731. 

and  opportunity  I  will  write  again  from  Philadelphia,  for 
which  I  set  out  immediately;  if  not,  from  Richmond.  The  Mar 
quis  proceeded  from  Albany  to  Boston,  from  whence  he  will  go, 
via  Rhode  Island,  to  Virginia,  and  be  at  the  Assembly.  Thence 
he  returns  into  the  Northern  States  to  embark  for  Europe. 


PHILADELPHIA,  October  17th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — On  my  arrival  here  I  found  that  Mr.  Short  had 
passed  through  on  his  way  to  New  York,  and  was  there  at  the 
date  of  my  last.  I  regret  much  that  I  missed  the  pleasure  of 
seeing  him.  The  inclosed  was  put  into  my  hands  by  Mrs.  House, 
who  received  it  after  he  left  Philadelphia.  My  two  last,  neither 
of  which  were  in  cypher,  were  written,  as  will  be  all  future 
ones  in  the  same  situation,  in  expectation  of  their  being  read 
by  postmasters.  I  am  well  assured  that  this  is  the  fate  of  all 
letters,  at  least  to  and  from  public  persons,  not  only  in  France 
but  all  the  other  Countries  of  Europe.  Having  now  the  use  of 
my  cypher,  I  can  write  without  restraint. 

In  my  last  I  gave  you  a  sketch  of  what  passed  at  Fort  Schuy- 
ler  during  my  stay  there;  mentioning  in  particular  that  the 
Marquis  had  made  a  speech  to  the  Indians,  with  the  sanction 
of  the  Commissioners,  Wolcot,  Lee,  and  Butler.  The  question 
will  probably  occur  how  a  foreigner,  and  a  private  one,  could 
appear  on  the  theatre  of  a  public  Treaty  between  the  United 
States  and  the  Indian  nations,  and  how  the  Commissioners 
could  lend  a  sanction  to  it.  Instead  of  offering  an  opinion  of 
the  measure,  I  will  state  the  manner  in  which  it  was  brought 
about.  It  seems  that  most  of  the  Indian  tribes,  particularly 
those  of  the  Iroquois,  retain  a  strong  predilection  for  the  French, 
and  most  of  the  latter  an  enthusiastic  idea  of  the  Marquis. 
This  idea  has  resulted  from  his  being  a  Frenchman,  the  figure 
he  has  made  during  the  war,  and  the  arrival  of  several  impor 
tant  events  which  he  foretold  to  them  soon  after  he  came  to  this 
country.  Before  he  went  to  Fort  Schuyler,  it  had  been  sug- 

1784.  LETTERS.  105 

gested,  either  in  compliment  or  sincerity,  that  his  presence  and 
influence  might  be  of  material  service  to  the  treaty.  At  Albany, 
the  same  thing  had  been  said  to  him  by  General  Wolcot.  On 
his  arrival  at  Fort  Schuyler,  Mr.  Kirkland  recommended  an 
exertion  of  his  influence  as  of  essential  consequence  to  the  treaty, 
painting  in  the  strongest  colours  the  attachment  of  the  Indians 
to  his  person,  which  seemed  indeed  to  be  verified  by  their 
caresses,  and  the  artifices  employed  by  the  British  partizans  to 
frustrate  the  objects  of  the  treaty,  among  which  was  a  pretext 
that  the  alliance  between  the  United  States  and  France  was 
insincere  and  transitory,  and,  consequently,  the  respect  of  the 
Indians  for  the  latter  ought  to  be  no  motive  for  their  respecting 
the  former.  Upon  these  circumstances,  the  Marquis  grounded  a 
written  message  to  the  Commissioners  before  they  got  up,  inti 
mating  his  disposition  to  render  the  United  States  any  service 
his  small  influence  over  the  Indians  might  put  in  his  power,  and 
desiring  to  know  what  the  Commissioners  would  chuse  him  to 
say.  The  answer,  in  Mr.  Lee's  hand,  consisted  of  polite  ac 
knowledgments,  and  information  that  the  Commissioners  would 
be  happy  in  affording  him  an  opportunity  of  saying  whatever 
he- might  wish,  forbearing  to  advise  or  suggest  what  it  would 
be  best  for  him  to  say.  The  Marquis  perceived  the  caution, 
but  imputed  it  to  Lee  alone. 

As  his  stay  was  to  be  very  short,  it  was  necessary  for  him  to 
take  provisional  measures  before  the  arrival  of  the  Commis 
sioners,  and  particularly  for  calling  in  the  Oneida  Chiefs,  who 
were  at  their  town.  It  fell  to  my  lot  to  be  consulted  in  his 
dilemma.  My  advice  was,  that  he  should  invite  the  Chiefs  in 
such  a  way  as  would  give  him  an  opportunity  of  addressing 
them  publicly,  if  on  a  personal  interview  with  the  Commission 
ers  it  should  be  judged  expedient,  or  of  satisfying  their  expec 
tations  with  a  friendly  entertainment  in  return  for  the  civilities 
his  visit  to  their  town  had  met  with.  This  advice  was  ap 
proved;  but  the  Indians  brought  with  them  such  ideas  of  his 
importance  as  no  private  reception  would  probably  have  been 
equal  to.  When  the  Commissioners  arrived,  the  Marquis  con 
sulted  them  in  person.  They  were  reserved;  he  was  embar- 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1734. 

rassed.  Finally,  they  changed  their  plan,  and  concurred  explicit 
ly  in  his  making  a  Speech  in  form.  He  accordingly  prepared 
one,  communicated  it  to  the  Commissioners,  and  publickly  pro 
nounced  it,  the  Commissioners  premising  such  an  one  as  was 
thought  proper  to  introduce  his.  The  answer  of  the  Sachems, 
as  well  as  the  circumstances  of  the  audience,  denoted  the  high 
est  reverence  for  the  orator.  The  Chief  of  the  Oneidas  said 
that  the  word  which  he  had  spoken  to  them  early  in  the  war 
had  prevented  them  from  being  misled  to  the  wrong  side  of  it. 

During  this  scene,  and  even  during  the  whole  stay  of  the  Mar 
quis,  he  was  the  only  conspicuous  figure.  The  Commissioners 
were  eclipsed.  All  of  them  probably  felt  it.  Lee  complained 
to  me  of  the  immoderate  stress  laid  on  the  influence  of  the  Mar 
quis,  and  evidently  promoted  his  departure.  The  Marquis  was 
not  insensible  of  it,  but  consoled  himself  with  the  service  which 
he  thought  the  Indian  Speech  would  witness  that  he  had  ren 
dered  to  the  United  States.  I  am  persuaded  that  the  transac 
tion  is  also  pleasing  to  him  in  another  view,  as  it  will  form  a 
bright  column  in  the  Gazettes  of  Europe.  As  it  is  blended 
with  the  proceedings  of  the  Commissioners,  it  will  probably  not 
be  published  in  America  very  soon. 

The  time  I  have  lately  passed  with  the  Marquis  has  given  me 
a  pretty  thorough  insight  into  his  character.  With  great  nat 
ural  frankness  of  temper,  he  unites  much  address  and  very  con 
siderable  talents.  In  his  politics,  he  says  his  three  hobby-horses 
are  the  alliance  between  France  and  the  United  States,  the 
union  of  the  latter,  and  the  manumission  of  the  Slaves.  The 
two  former  are  the  dearer  to  him,  as  they  are  connected  with 
his  personal  glory.  The  last  does  him  real  honor,  as  it  is  a 
proof  of  his  humanity.  In  a  word,  I  take  him  to  be  as  amiable 
a  man  as  can  be  imagined,  and  as  sincere  an  American  as  any 
Frenchman  can  be;  one  whose  past  services  gratitude  obliges 
us  to  acknowledge,  and  whose  future  friendship  prudence  re 
quires  us  to  cultivate. 

The  Committee  of  the  States  have  never  reassembled.  The 
case  of  Longchamps  has  been  left  both  by  the  Legislative  and 
Executive  of  this  State  to  its  Judiciary  course.  He  is  sentenced 

1784.  LETTERS.  107 

to  a  fine  of  100  crowns,  to  two  years7  imprisonment,  and  security 
for  good  behaviour  for  seven  years.  On  tuesday  morning  I  set 
off  for  Richmond,  where  I  ought  to  be  to-morrow,  but  some  de 
lays  have  put  it  out  of  my  power. 

The  ramble  I  have  taken  has  rather  inflamed  than  extin 
guished  my  curiosity  to  see  the  Northern  and  N.  W.  Country. 
If  circumstances  be  favorable,  I  may  probably  resume  it  next 
summer.  Present  my  compliments  to  Miss  Patsy,  for  whom,  as 
well  as  yourself,  Mrs.  House  charges  me  with  hers.  She  has 
lately  had  a  letter  from  poor  Mrs.  Trist,  every  syllable  of  which 
is  the  language  of  affection  itself.  She  had  arrived  safe  at  the 
habitation  of  her  deceased  Husband,  but  will  not  be  able  to 
leave  that  country  till  the  spring,  at  the  nearest.  The  only 
happiness  she  says  she  is  capable  of,  is  to  receive  proofs  that  her 
friends  have  not  forgotten  her.  I  do  not  learn  what  is  likely 
to  be  the  amount  of  the  effects  left  by  Mr.  T.;  former  accounts 
varied  from  6  to  10,000  dollars. 

I  am,  my  dear  Sir,  yours  very  affect6'7. 


RICHMOND,  November  — ,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  without  date  was  brought  by  thurs- 
day's  post.  It  inclosed  a  cypher,  for  which  I  thank  you,  and 
which  I  shall  make  use  of  as  occasion  may  require,  though,  from 
the  nature  of  our  respective  situations,  its  chief  value  will  be 
derived  from  your  use  of  it.  General  Washington  arrived  here 
on  Sunday  last,  and  the  Marquis  on  thursday.  The  latter  came 
from  Boston  in  a  French  frigate.  They  have  both  been  ad 
dressed  and  entertained  in  the  best  manner  that  circumstances 
would  admit.  These  attentions,  and  the  balloting  for  public 
offices,  have  consumed  the  greatest  part  of  the  past  week.  Mr. 
Jones  is  put  into  the  place  of  Mr.  Short;  Mr.  Roane  and  Mr.  M. 
Selden  are  to  go  into  those  of  Mr.  M.  Smith  and  Col.  Chris 
tian,  who  are  the  victims  to  that  part  of  the  Constitution  which 

108  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784. 

directs  a  triennial  purgation  of  the  Council.  The  vote  is  not 
to  take  effect  till  the  Spring,  but  was  made  now  in  consequence 
of  the  discontinuance  of  the  spring  session.  The  rejected  Candi 
dates  were  Col.  Bland,  Cyrus  Griffin,  G.  Webb,  W.  C.  Nicholas, 
Mr.  Breckenridge,  Col.  Carrington.  The  latter  was  within  one 
vote  of  Mr.  Selden;  Col.  B.,  Mr.  N.,  and  Mr.  B.,  had,  as  nearly 
as  I  recollect,  between  20  and  30  votes;  Mr.  G.  &  Mr.  W. 
very  few.  Mr.  H.  Innes,  late  Judge  of  the  Kentucky  Court, 
is  to  succeed  Walker  Daniel,  late  Attorney  General,  in  that 
District.  His  competitor  was  Mr.  Stuart,  who  was  about  15 
votes  behind. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  your's  sincerely. 


RICHMOND,  November  14th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  had  intended  by  this  post  to  commence  our 
correspondence  with  a  narrative  of  what'  has  been  done  and  is 
proposed  to  be  done  at  the  present  Session  of  the  General  As 
sembly,  but,  by  your  last  letter  to  Mr.  Jones,  I  find  that  it  is 
very  uncertain  whether  this  will  get  to  Trenton  before  you  leave 
it  for  Virginia.  I  cannot,  however,  postpone  my  congratula 
tions  on  your  critical  escape  from  the  danger  which  lay  in  am 
bush  for  you,  and  your  safe  return  to  Trenton.  My  ramble  ex 
tended  neither  into  the  dangers  nor  gratifications  of  yours.  It 
was  made  extremely  pleasing  by  sundry  circumstances,  but 
would  have  been  more  so,  I  assure  you,  Sir,  if  we  had  been  eo- 
temporarys  in  the  route  we  both  passed. 

The  Indians  begin  to  be  unquiet,  we  hear,  both  on  the  North 
West  and  South  East  sides  of  the  Ohio.  The  Spaniards  are 
charged  with  spurring  on  the  latter.  As  means  of  obviating 
the  dangers,  the  House  of  Delegates  have  resolved  to  authorize 
the  Executive  to  suspend  the  surveying  of  land  within  the  un- 
purchased  limits,  and  to  instruct  the  Delegation  to  urge  in  Con 
gress  Treaties  with  the  Southern  Indians,  and  negociations 

1781.  LETTERS.  109 

with  Spain  touching  the  Mississippi.  They  also  propose  to  set 
on  foot  surveys  of  Potowmac  and  James  Rivers,  from  their  falls 
to  their  sources.  But  their  principal  attention  has  been,  and  is 
still,  occupied  with  a  scheme  proposed  for  a  General  Assess 
ment;  47  have  carried  it  against  32.  In  its  present  form  it  ex 
cludes  all  but  Christian  sects.  The  Presbyterian  Clergy  have 
remonstrated  against  any  narrow  principles,  but  indirectly  favor 
a  more  comprehensive  establishment.  I  think  the  bottom  will 
be  enlarged,  and  that  a  trial  will  be  made  of  the  practicability 
of  the  project.  The  successor  to  Mr.  Harrison  is  not  yet  ap 
pointed  or  nominated.  It  is  in  the  option  of  Mr.  Henry,  and  I 
fancy  he  will  not  decline  the  service.  There  will  be  three  va 
cancies  in  the  Council,  for  which  no  nominations  have  been 
made.  Mr.  C.  Griffith  will  probably  be  named,  and  Mr.  W. 
Nicholas.  Mr.  Roane  is  also  spoken  of. 
I  am,  dear  sir,  your's  sincerely. 


RICHMOND,  Nov*  27th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  15th  instant  came  to  hand  by 
thursday's  post.  Mine  by  the  last  post  acknowledged  your  pre 
ceding  one.  The  umbrage  given  to  the  Commissioners  of  the 
United  States  by  the  negociations  of  New  York  with  the  In 
dians  was  not  altogether  unknown  to  me,  though  I  am  less  ac 
quainted  with  the  circumstances  of  it  than  your  letter  supposes. 
The  idea  which  I  at  present  have  of  the  affair  leads  me  to  say, 
that  as  far  as  New  York  may  claim  a  right  of  treating  with  In 
dians  for  the  purchase  of  lands  within  her  limits,  she  has  the 
Confederation  on  her  side;  as  far  as  she  may  have  exerted  that 
right  in  contravention  of  the  General  Treaty,  or  even  unconfi- 
dentially  with  the  Commissioners  of  Congress,  she  has  violated 
both  duty  and  decorum.  The  federal  Articles  give  Congress  the 
exclusive  right  of  managing  all  affairs  with  the  Indians  not  mem- 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784. 

lers  of  any  State,  under  a  proviso,  that  the  Legislative  authority 
of  the  State  within  its  own  limits  be  not  violated.  By  Indians 
not  members  of  a  State,  must  be  meant  those,  I  conceive,  who 
do  not  live  within  the  body  of  the  Society,  or  whose  persons  or 
property  form  no  objects  of  its  laws.  In  the  case  of  Indians  of 
this  description,  the  only  restraint  on  Congress  is  imposed  by 
the  Legislative  authority  of  the  State. 

If  this  proviso  be  taken  in  its  full  latitude,  it  must  destroy 
the  authority  of  Congress  altogether,  since  no  act  of  Congress 
within  the  limits  of  a  State  can  be  conceived  which  will  not  in 
some  way  or  other  encroach  upon  the  authority  of  the  State. 
In  order,  then,  to  give  some  meaning  to  both  parts  of  the  sen 
tence,  as  a  known  rule  of  interpretation  requires,  we  must  re 
strain  this  proviso  to  some  particular  view  of  the  parties.  What 
was  this  view  ?  My  answer  is,  that  it  was  to  save  to  the  States 
their  right  of  pre-emption  of  lands  from  the  Indians.  My  rea 
sons  are:  1.  That  this  was  the  principal  right  formerly  exerted 
by  the  Colonies  with  regard  to  the  Indians.  2.  That  it  was  a 
right  asserted  by  the  laws  as  well  as  the  proceedings  of  all  of 
them,  and  therefore,  being  most  familiar,  would  be  most  likely 
to  be  in  contemplation  of  the  parties.  3.  That  being  of  most 
consequence  to  the  States  individually,  and  least  inconsistent 
with  the  general  powers  of  Congress,  it  was  most  likely  to  be 
made  a  ground  of  compromise.  4.  It  has  been  always  said  that 
the  proviso  came  from  the  Virginia  Delegates,  who  would  nat 
urally  be  most  vigilant  over  the  territorial  rights  of  their  con 
stituents.  But  whatever  may  be  the  true  boundary  between 
the  authority  of  Congress  and  that  of  New  York,  or  however 
indiscreet  the  latter  may  have  been,  I  join  entirely  with  you  in 
thinking  that  temperance  on  the  part  of  the  former  will  be  the 
wisest  policy. 

I  concur  with  you  equally  with  regard  to  the  ignominious 
secession  at  Annapolis.  As  Congress  are  too  impotent  to  pun 
ish  such  offences,  the  task  must  finally  be  left  to  the  States,  and 
experience  has  shewn,  in  the  case  of  Howell,  that  the  interposi 
tion  of  Congress  against  an  offender,  instead  of  promoting  his 

17,94.  LETTERS.  HI 

chastisement,  may  give  him  a  significaney  which  he  otherwise 
would  never  arrive  at,  and  may  induce  a  State  to  patronize  an 
act  which  of  their  own  accord  they  would  have  punished. 

I  am  sorry  to  find  the  affair  of  Mr.  de  Marbois  taking  so  se 
rious  a  face.  As  the  insult  was  committed  within  the  jurisdic 
tion  of  Pennsylvania,  I  think  you  are  right  in  supposing  the 
offender  could  not  be  transferred  to  another  jurisdiction  for 
punishment.  The  proper  questions,  therefore,  are:  1.  Whether 
the  existing  law  was  fully  put  in  force  against  him  by  Pennsyl 
vania?  2.  Whether  due  provision  has  been  made  by  that  State 
against  like  contingencies  ?  Nothing  seems  to  be  more  difficult 
under  our  new  Governments  than  to  impress  on  the  attention 
of  our  Legislatures  a  due  sense  of  those  duties  which  spring 
from  our  relation  to  foreign  nations. 

Several  of  us  have  been  labouring  much  of  late  in  the  General 
Assembly  here  to  provide  for  a  case  with  which  we  are  every 
day  threatened  by  the  eagerness  of  our  disorderly  citizens  for 
Spanish  plunder  and  Spanish  blood.  It  has  been  proposed  to 
authorise  Congress,  whenever  satisfactory  proof  shall  be  given 
to  them  by  a  foreign  power  of  such  a  crime  being  committed  by 
our  citizens  within  its  jurisdiction  as  by  the  law  of  Nations  calls 
for  a  surrender  of  the  offender,  and  the  foreign  power  shall 
actually  make  the  demand,  [to  require  his  surrender  from  the 
Executive  of  the  State,]  and  that  the  Executive  may,  at  the  in 
stance  of  Congress,  apprehend  and  deliver  up  the  offender. 
That  there  are  offences  of  that  class  is  clearly  stated  by  Vattel 
in  particular,  and  that  the  business  ought  to  pass  through  Con 
gress  is  equally  clear.  The  proposition  was  a  few  days  ago 
rejected  in  Committee  of  the  whole.  To-day,  on  the  report  of 
the  Committee,  it  has  been  agreed  to  by  a  small  majority.  This 
is  the  most  material  question  that  has  agitated  us  during  the 
week  past. 

The  Bill  for  a  Religious  Assessment  has  not  been  yet  brought 
in.  Mr.  Henry,  the  father  of  the  scheme,  is  gone  up  to  his  seat 
for  his  family,  and  will  no  more  sit  in  the  House  of  Delegates — 
a  circumstance  very  inauspicious  to  his  offspring.  An  attempt 

112  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784 

will  be  made  for  Circuit  Courts,  and  Mr.  Jones  has  it  in  contem 
plation  to  try  whether  any  change  has  taken  place  in  the  senti 
ments  of  the  House  of  Delegates  on  the  subject  of  the  Treaty. 
He  will  write  to  you  by  this  post,  and  I  refer  to  him  for  what  I 
may  have  omitted. 

With  sincere  regard  and  esteem,  I  am.  dear  sir,  your  friend 
and  serv1. 


RICHMOND,  Novr  27th,  1784. 

HOND  SIR, — Having  a  moment's  time  to  drop  you  a  line,  I  in 
form  you  that  the  Bill  for  confirming  surveys  against  subsequent 
entries  has  been  negatived  by  a  large  majority,  rather  on  the 
principle  that  it  was  unnecessary  and  retrospective  than  that 
it  was  unjust  in  itself.  On  the  contrary,  all  the  principal  gen 
tlemen  were  of  opinion  that  it  was  just,  but  already  provided  for 
by  the  law.  Mr.  limes,  the  late  Judge  of  the  Kentucky  Court, 
in  particular,  told  me  he  thought  such  surveys  could  not  be 
overset.  You  will  have  heard  of  the  vote  in  favor  of  the  Gen 
eral  Assessment.  The  bill  is  not  yet  brought  in,  and  I  question 
whether  it  will;  or  if  so,  whether  it  will  pass.  This  day  a  vote 
passed  without  a  dissent  for  Circuit  Courts.  What  opposition 
may  be  made  to  its  passage  I  know  not. 


RICHMOND,  December  4th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — On  Saturday  last  a  proposition  was  agreed  to 
for  establishing  Circuit  Courts  throughout  this  Commonwealth, 
and  yesterday  a  bill  for  that  purpose  was  reported.  On  Wednes 
day  next  it  will  undergo  a  discussion  of  the  Committee  of 
the  whole.  The  circumstances  under  which  it  has  passed  thus 

1784.  LETTERS.  113 

far  seem  to  promise  a  favorable  issue,  but  the  dangers  which  it 
is  yet  to  go  through  are  formidable.  They  proceed  from  latent 
and  interested  objections,  which  have  on  several  former  occa 
sions  proved  fatal  to  similar  attempts.  The  plan  is  pretty 
analogous  to  the  Nisi  prius  established  in  England. 

On  Tuesday,  sundry  propositions  were  made  by  Mr.  Jones 
in  favor  of  the  4th  Article  of  the  Treaty  of  peace.  They  passed 
by  a  large  majority,  with  blanks  as  to  the  length  of  time  to  be 
given  for  the  payment  of  the  principal,  and  for  disallowing  the 
interest.  The  former  was  filled  up  with  seven  years,  in  prefer 
ence  to  10,  8,  6,  and  5,  which  were  contended  for  on  different 
sides.  The  latter,  with  the  period  between  April  19th,  1775, 
and  March  3d,  1783,  in  preference  to  the  period  between  the 
first  date  and  May,  1784,  the  date  of  the  exchange  of  ratifica 
tions.  The  bill  will  probably  pass,  but  not,  I  fear,  without  some 
improper  ingredients,  and  particularly  some  conditions  relative 
to  the  North  Western  posts,  or  the  Negroes,  which  lye  without 
our  province. 

The  bill  for  the  Religious  Assessment  was  reported  yesterday, 
and  will  be  taken  up  in  a  Committee  of  the  whole  next  week. 
Its  friends  are  much  disheartened  at  the  loss  of  Mr.  Henry. 
Its  fate  is,  I  think,  very  uncertain.  Another  Act  of  the  House 
of  Delegates  during  the  present  week  is  a  direction  to  the  Exec 
utive  to  carry  into  effect  the  vote  of  a  Bust  to  [of?]  the  Marquis 
de  Lafayette,  to  be  presented  to  the  City  of  Paris,  and  to  cause 
another  to  be  procured  to  be  set  up  in  tins  Country.  These 
resolutions  are  so  contrived  as  to  hide  as  much  as  possible  the 
circumstance  in  the  original  vote  of  the  bust  being  to  be  pre 
sented  to  the  Marquis  himself.  I  find  by  a  letter  from  General 
Washington  that  he  was  on  the  28  ult.  just  setting  out  to 
accompany  the  Marquis  to  Annapolis,  and  thence  to  Baltimore. 
The  latter  may  therefore  soon  be  expected  at  Trenton.  He 
has  been  much  caressed  here,  as  well  as  everywhere  else  on  his 
Tour,  and  I  make  no  doubt  he  will  leave  Congress  with  equal 
reason  to  be  pleased  with  his  visit.  I  meant  to  have  sent  you 
a  copy  of  the  Resolutions  touching  the  Busts,  but  have  been 
disappointed  in  getting  one.  They  were  offered  by  Mr.  Jones, 

VOL.  i.  8 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1784. 

and  agreed  to  unanimously,  as  they  no  doubt  will  also  be  in  the 

Wishing  you  all  happiness,  I  aui,  dear  sir,  your's  sincerely. 


RICHMOND,  December  17th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR-        *        *        *        *        * 

Our  progress  in  the  Revisal  has  been  stopped  by  the  waste 
of  time  produced  by  the  inveterate  and  prolix  opposition  of  its 
adversaries,  and  the  approach  of  Christmas.  The  Bill  propor 
tioning  crimes  and  punishments  was  the  one  at  which  we  stuck, 
after  wading  through  the  most  difficult  parts  of  it.  A  few  sub 
sequent  bills,  however,  were  excepted  from  the  postponement. 
Among  these  was  the  Bill  for  establishing  Religious  freedom, 
which  has  got  through  the  House  of  Delegates  without  altera 
tion,  though  not  without  warm  opposition.  Mr.  Mercer  and 
Mr.  Corbin  were  the  principal  Combatants  against  it. 

Mr.  Jones  is  well. 

With  sincerity,  I  am,  your  affectionate  friend. 


RICHMOND,  December  24th,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  14th  instant  came  to  hand  on 
thursday.  A  proposition  was  made  a  few  days  ago  for  this 
State  to  empower  Congress  to  carry  into  effect  the  imposts,  as 
soon  as  twelve  States  should  make  themselves  parties  to  it.  It 
was  rejected  on  the  following  grounds:  1.  That  it  would  pre 
sent  a  disagreeable  aspect  of  our  affairs  to  foreign  Nations.  2. 
That  it  might  lead  to  other  combinations  of  lesser  numbers  of 
the  States.  3.  That  it  would  render  Rhode  Island  an  inlet  for 
clandestine  trade.  4.  That  it  would  sour  her  temper  still 

1784.  LETTERS.  115 

further,  at  a  crisis  when  her  concurrence  in  some  general  and 
radical  amendment  of  the  Confederation  may  be  invited  by 
Congress.  5.  That  the  chance  is  almost  infinitely  against  a 
union  of  twelve  States  on  such  new  ground,  and  consequently 
the  experiment  would  be  only  a  fresh  display  of  the  jarring 
policy  of  the  States,  and  afford  a  fresh  triumph  and  irritation 
to  Rhode  Island. 

The  act  empowering  Congress  to  surrender  Citizens  of  this 
State  to  the  Sovereign  demanding  them,  for  certain  crimes  com 
mitted  within  his  jurisdiction,  has  passed.  Congress  are  to 
judge  whether  the  crimes  be  such  as  according  to  the  Law  of 
Nations  warrant  such  demand,  as  well  as  whether  the  fact  be 
duly  proven.  Concurrent  provision  is  made  for  punishing  such 
offences  by  our  own  laws,  in  case  no  such  demand  be  made  to 
or  be  not  admitted  by  Congress,  and  legal  proof  can  be  had. 
The  latter  law  extends  to  offences  against  the  Indians.  As 
these  tribes  do  not  observe  the  law  of  Nations,  it  was  supposed 
neither  necessary  nor  proper  to  give  up  citizens  to  them.  The 
act  is  not  suspended  on  the  concurrence  of  any  other  State,  it 
being  judged  favorable  to  the  interest  of  this  though  no  other 
should  follow  the  example,  and  a  fit  branch  of  the  federal  pre 
rogative.  The  Bill  for  Assize  Courts  has  passed  the  Senate 
without  any  material  amendment,  is  enrolled,  and  waits  only  to 
be  examined  by  the  Committee  and  signed  by  the  Speakers. 
The  General  Assessment,  on  the  question  for  engrossing  it,  was 
yesterday  carried  by  44  against  42.  To-day  its  third  reading 
was  put  off  till  November  next,  by  45  against  37,  or  there 
abouts,  and  it  is  to  be  printed  for  consideration  of  the  people. 
Much  business  is  still  on  the  table,  but  we  shall  probably  rise 
about  New-year's  day. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  with  sincere  regard,  your  friend  and  serv*. 


[Notes  of  speech  made  by  Mr.  Madison  in  the  House  of  Delegates  of  Virginia, 
at  the  autumnal  session  of  1784,  in  opposition  to  the  General  assessment  Bill  for 
support  01  Religious  teachers:] 

I.  Rel.  not  within  purview  of  civil  authority. 

Tendency  of  estab8  Xnty.  1.  To  project  of  uniformity.  2. 
To  penal  laws  for  support15  it. 

Progress  of  Gen1  Asses1  proves  this  tendency. 
Difference  between  establish8  and  tolerating  error. 
True  question  not,  Is  Relig.  necess7  ?  but — 

II.  Are  Rel.  Estabts  necess7  for  religion  ?    No. 

1.  Propensity  of  man  to  Religion. 

2.  Experience  shews  relig.  corrupted  by  Estab*8. 

3.  Downfall  of  States  mentioned  by  Mr.  Henry  happened 
where  there  was  estab*. 

4.  Experience  gives  no  model  of  Gen1  Assess*. 

5.  Case  of  Pa.  explained;  not  solitary;  N.  J.    See  Constn  of 
it;  R.  I,  N.  J.,  D. 

6.  Case  of  primitive  Xnty;  of  reformation;  of  Dissenters  for 

7.  Progress  of  Religious  liberty. 

III.  Policy. 

1.  Promote  emigrations  from  State. 

2.  Prevent  immigration  into  it,  as  asylum. 

IV.  Necessity  of  Estab*  inferred  from  state  of  country;  true 
causes  of  disease. 

1.  War.         )  Common  to  other  States,  and  produce  same 

2.  Bad  laws. )      complaints  in  N.  E. 

3.  Pretext  from  taxes. 

4.  State  of  Administration  of  justice. 

5.  Transition  from  old  to  new  plan. 

6.  Policy  and  hopes  of  friends  to  G1  Assess*. 
True  remedies:  Not  Estab1. — but  bring  out  of  war. 

1.  Laws  to  cherish  virtue. 

2.  Administration  of  justice. 

3.  Personal  example.     Associations  for  Rel. 

4.  By  present  vote  cut  off  hope  of  Gen.  Assess*. 

1784.  LETTERS.  117 

5.  Education  of  youth. 

V.  Probable  defects  of  Bill  when  prepared. 
What  is  Xnty  ?  courts  of  law  to  decide. 

Is  it  Trinitarianisra,  arianism,  socinianism  ?  Is  it  salvation  by 
faith,  or  works  also?  <fec.,  &c.,  &c. 

Ends  in  what  is  orthodoxy,  what  Heresy. 

VI.  Dishonors  Christianity. 
Panegyric  on  it,  on  our  side. 
Declan  of  Rights. 

TO   RICH0  H.   LEE. 

RICHMOND.  25  Dec.,  1784. 

DEAR  SIR, — Be  pleased  to  accept  my  congratulations  on  the 
event  which  has  given  to  your  talents  a  station  in  which  they 
cannot  fail  to  be  equally  useful  to  the  public  and  honorable  to 
yourself.*  I  offer  them  with  the  greater  pleasure,  too,  as  such 
an  event  is  a  proof  that  Congress  have  unfettered  themselves 
from  a  rule  which  threatened  to  exclude  merit  from  a  choice  in 
which  merit  only  ought  to  prevail. 

The  assize  Bill  has,  since  my  last,  past  into  a  law.  The  Sen 
ate  made  no  material  change  in  it,  but  gave  an  almost  unani 
mous  suffrage  to  it.  The  only  hesitation  with  them  was  between 
that  plan  and  another,  which  would  have  rendered  the  circuit 
courts  independent  of  the  general  court.  The  former,  which 
follows  the  English  model,  unites  the  advantages  of  a  trial  of 
facts,  where  facts  can  be  ascertained  with  greatest  certainty  and 
cheapness,  with  a  decision  of  law,  where  such  decision  can  be 
made  with  most  wisdom  and  uniformity.  The  advantage  of  the 
latter  consisted  in  removing  the  inconveniency  of  making  up 
the  issues  and  awarding  the  judgments  in  the  general  court, 
which  it  was  supposed  would  increase  expense,  if  not  delay,  and 
particularly  require  the  service  of  a  double  number  of  lawyers. 
Experience  will  probably  shew  that  the  latter  supposition  is 
exaggerated,  and  that  the  system  preferred  is  at  least  the  best 

to  begin  with. 

Mr.  Lee  had  just  been  elected  President  of  Congress. 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  173 1. 

The  general  assessment  bill  was  ordered  to  be  engrossed  by 
forty-four  against  forty-two,  and  has  since,  by  forty-five  against 
thirty-seven,  been  postponed  till  November  next,  and  is  to  be 
printed  for  immediate  consideration.  An  act  incorporating  the 
Episcopal  church  has  passed  in  a  form  less  offensive  than  the 
one  proposed  at  the  last  Session.  The  Bill  for  payment  of  Brit 
ish  debts  was  under  debate  yesterday;  its  passage  seems  prob 
able,  but  there  is  reason  to  fear  that  attempts  will  yet  be  made 
to  trammel  it.  It  still  takes  seven  years  for  payment,  though 
the  Glasgow  merchants  have  signified  their  assent  to  four  years. 
The  merchants  of  this  town  and  Petersburg  have  remonstrated 
against  the  idea  of  giving  the  British  merchants  a  summary  re 
covery  at  the  periods  of  the  instalments.  The  Bill  for  opening 
the  Potowmac  is  suspended  on  the  result  of  a  conference.  Gen 
eral  Washington.  General  Gates,  and  Colonel  Blackburn,  are 
commissioned  to  hold  conferences  with  Maryland  on  the  sub 
ject.  A  Bill  for  opening  James  River,  on  a  different  plan,  has 
passed  the  House  of  Delegates.  A  Bill  will  also  probably 
pass  for  surveying  the  waters  of  those  two  rivers  to  their 
sources,  the  country  between  them  and  the  western  waters,  and 
the  latter  down  to  the  Ohio.  It  will  also  probably  provide  for 
a  survey  of  the  different  routes  for  a  communication  between 
the  waters  of  Elizabeth  River  and  those  of  North  Carolina. 

In  the  course  of  last  week  a  proposition  was  made  to  em 
power  Congress  to  collect  the  Impost  within  this  State  [Vir 
ginia]  as  soon  as  twelve  States  should  unite  in  the  scheme.  The 
arguments  which  prevailed  against  it  were  the  unfavorable  as 
pect  it  would  present  to  foreigners;  the  tendency  of  the  example 
to  inferior  combinations;  the  field  it  would  open  for  contraband 
trade;  its  probable  effect  on  the  temper  of  Rhode  Island,  which 
might  thwart  other  necessary  measures  requiring  the  unanimity 
of  the  States;  the  improbability  of  the  union  of  twelve  States 
on  this  new  ground,  a  failure  of  which  would  increase  the  ap 
pearance  of  discord  in  their  policy,  and  give  fresh  triumph  and 
irritation  to  Rhode  Island. 

I  have  not  yet  found  leisure  to  scan  the  project  of  a  Conti 
nental  Convention  with  so  close  an  eye  as  to  have  made  up  any 

178A.  LETTERS. 

observations  worthy  of  being  mentioned  to  you.  In  general,  I 
hold  it  for  a  maxim,  that  the  Union  of  the  States  is  essential  to 
their  safety  against  foreign  danger  and  internal  contention; 
and  that  the  perpetuity  and  efficacy  of  the  present  system  can 
not  be  confided  in.  The  question  therefore  is,  in  what  mode 
and  at  what  moment  the  experiment  for  supplying  the  defects 
ought  to  be  made.  The  answer  to  this  question  cannot  be  given 
without  a  knowledge  greater  than  I  possess  of  the  temper  and 
views  of  the  different  States.  Virginia  seems,  I  think,  to  have 
excellent  dispositions  towards  the  Confederacy,  but  her  assent 
or  dissent  to  such  a  proposition  would  probably  depend  on  the 
chance  of  its  having  no  opponent  capable  of  rousing  the  preju 
dices  and  jealousies  of  the  Assembly  against  innovations,  par 
ticularly  such  as  will  derogate  from  their  own  power  and  im 
portance.  Should  a  view  of  the  other  States  present  no  objec 
tions  against  the  experiment,  individually,  I  would  wish  none 
to  be  presupposed  here. 

With  great  esteem  and  regard,  I  am,  dear  sir,  your  obt  and 
hum.  serv1. 


RICHMOND,  January  1,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  was  yesterday  honored  with  yours  of  the  28th 
ultimo,  accompanying  the  Report  of  the  Conferees,  <fcc.,  &c. 
The  latter  has  been  laid  before  the  House  of  Delegates,  and  a 
committee  appointed  to  report  a  Bill  and  Resolutions  corres 
ponding  with  those  of  Maryland.  The  only  danger  of  miscar 
riage  arises  from  the  impatience  of  the  members  to  depart,  and 
the  bare  competency  of  the  present  number.  By  great  efforts 
only  they  have  been  detained  thus  long.  I  am  not  without 
hopes,  however,  that  the  business  of  the  Potowmac  at  least  will 
be  provided  for  before  the  adjournment,  and  some  provision  now 
depending  be  compleated  in  favor  of  James  River.  Before  the 
receipt  of  your  dispatches  a  Bill  had  been  passed  by  the  House 

120  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

of  Delegates  for  surveying  the  former  as  well  as  the  latter  river, 
on  a  plan  which  we  shall  endeavour,  by  concert  with  the  Sen 
ate,  to  accommodate  to  the  provisions  of  Maryland.  A  Reso 
lution  has  passed  both  Houses  instructing  the  Commissioners, 
appointed  in  June  last  to  settle  with  Maryland  Commissioners 
the  jurisdiction  of  the  Potowmac,  to  join  in  a  representation  to 
Pennsylvania  on  the  subject  of  the  waters  of  the  Ohio  within  her 
limits.  This  instruction  ought  rather  to  have  been  committed  to 
the  late  conference;  but  when  the  Commission,  under  which  you 
attended  it,  passed,  I  was  confined  to  my  room,  and  it  did  not 
occur  to  any  other  member.  And,  indeed,  if  I  had  been  well,  the 
haste  which  necessarily  prevailed  might  have  precluded  me  from 
comprehending  the  object  within  your  mission,  especially  as  I 
had  not  previously  digested  my  ideas  on  the  subject,  nor  accu 
rately  examined  the  text  of  the  Confederation.  It  were  to  be 
wished  too,  I  think,  that  the  application  to  Pennsylvania  on  the 
subject  of  the  road  could  have  been  blended  with  that  of  the 
River.  As  it  is,  it  will,  I  think,  be  best  to  refer  it,  after  the 
example  of  Maryland,  to  the  Executive.  I  beg  you,  Sir,  to  ex 
cuse  the  brevity  which  our  hurry  has  imposed  upon  me.  As 
soon  as  I  have  leisure,  I  will  endeavour  to  make  amends  by  a 
fuller  communication  on  this  subject. 


RICHMOND,  8th  January.  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — Yours  of  the  18th  ultimo  came  to  hand  yester 
day.  The  view  which  it  gives  of  the  operations  of  the  Cabinet 
portends,  I  fear,  a  revival  of  those  intrigues  and  contests  of 
ambition  which  have  more  than  once  distracted  and  dishonoured 
the  National  Councils.  Foreign  appointments  have  generally 
been  the  parents  of  those  mischiefs,  and  ought  for  that  reason, 
when  no  other  reasons  oppose,  to  be  rendered  as  unfrcquent  as 
may  be. 

The  union  between  R.  H.  Lee  and  R.  R.  Livingston*  would 

*  On  the  appointment  of  Mr.  Jefferson  to  the  Court  of  Spain. 

17S5.  LETTERS.  121 

have  been  among  the  last  of  my  predictions,  nor  can  I  fathom 
the  principle  on  which  it  is  founded. 

The  policy  of  healing  the  variance  between  the  United  States 
and  Great  Britain  is  no  doubt  obvious;  but  I  cannot  enter  into 
the  suspicions  entertained  of  hostile  designs  in  the  latter.  Her 
internal  situation  renders  them  extremely  improbable,  and  the 
affairs  of  Ireland,  as  I  conceive,  absolutely  incredible.  What 
could  she  hope  for  or  aim  at  ?  If  the  late  war  was  folly,  a  new 
one  for  the  same  object  would  be  downright  phrensy.  Her  ill- 
humour  is  the  natural  consequence  of  disappointed  and  disarmed 
ambition,  and  her  disregard  of  the  Treaty  may,  if  not  be  justi 
fied,  at  least  be  accounted  for  by  what  has  passed  in  the  United 
States.  Let  both  parties  do  what  neither  can  deny  its  obliga 
tion  to  do,  and  the  difficulty  is  at  an  end. 

The  contest  with  Spain  has  a  more  dangerous  root.  Not 
only  the  supposed  interests,  but  the  supposed  rights  of  the  par 
ties  are  in  direct  opposition.  I  hope,  however,  that  both  par 
ties  will  ponder  the  consequences  before  they  suffer  amicable 
negociation  to  become  abortive.  The  use  of  the  Mississippi  is 
given  by  nature  to  our  Western  Country,  and  no  power  on 
Earth  can  take  it  from  them.  Whilst  we  assert  our  title  to  it, 
therefore,  with  a  becoming  firmness,  let  us  not  forget  that  we 
cannot  ultimately  be  deprived  of  it,  and  that,  for  the  present, 
war  is  more  than  all  things  to  be  deprecated.  Let  us  weigh 
well,  also,  the  object  and  the  price,  not  forgetting  that  the  At 
lantic  States,  &c.,  &c I  join  in  your  wish  that  we  had  a 

better  Cypher,  but  Richmond  yields  as  few  resources  for  amend 
ing  ours  as  Trenton.  I  have  not  leisure  myself,  and  can  com 
mand  the  assistance  of  no  other  person. 

[Here  the  writer  gives  the  same  detail  of  the  circumstances  which  prevented 
the  passage  of  the  Bill  respecting  British  debts  as  is  contained  in  his  letter  of  the 
following  day  to  Mr.  Jefferson.] 

It  was  unlucky  that  one  of  the  two  Bills  thus  lost  should  be 
that  which  will  be  most  likely  to  involve  our  public  character. 
Before  this  accident,  we  had  passed  the  Bill  for  opening  the 

122  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1783. 

Potomac  and  a  similar  one  for  James  River,  together  with  a 
third,  presenting  to  Gen1  Washington  a  handsome  portion  of 
shares  in  each  of  the  companies,  and  had  taken  some  other 
measures  for  opening  the  commercial  channel  to  the  Western 
Waters.  As  I  shall  not  be  in  Richmond  to  receive  any  letters 
which  may  be  written  hereafter,  you  will  be  so  good  as  to  ad 
dress  your  future  favors  to  Orange. 
I  am,  dear  sir,  with  sincerity,  your  friend  and  servant. 


RICHMOND,  January  9th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last  was  dated  in  Philadelphia,  October  17th. 
I  reached  this  place  on  the  14th  day  after  that  fixed  for  the 
meeting  of  the  Assembly,  and  was  in  time  for  the  commence 
ment  of  business.  Yesterday  put  an  end  to  the  tedious  session. 
According  to  my  promise,  I  subjoin  a  brief  review  of  its  most 
material  proceedings. 

This  act  was  carried  through  the  House 

An  act  for  the  estab 
lishment  of  Courts  of  of  Delegates  against  much  secret  repug 
nance,  but  without  any  direct  and  open  op 
position.  It  luckily  happened  that  the  latent  opposition  wanted 
both  a  mouth  and  a  head.  Mr.  Henry  had  been  previously 
elected  Governor,  and  was  gone  for  his  family.  From  his  con 
versation  since,  I  surmise  that  his  presence  might  have  been 
fatal.  The  act  is  formed  precisely  on  the  English  pattern,  and 
is  nearly  a  transcript  from  the  bill  originally  penned  in  1776 
by  Mr.  Pendleton,  except  that  writs  sent  blank  from  the  Clerk 
of  General  Court  are  to  issue  in  the  district,  but  returned  to 
General  Court.  In  the  Senate  it  became  a  consideration  whether 
the  Assize  Courts  ought  not  to  be  turned  into  so  many  Courts 
of  independent  and  complete  jurisdiction,  and  admitting  an 
appeal  only  to  the  Court  of  Appeals.  If  the  fear  of  endanger 
ing  the  bill  had  not  checked  the  experiment,  such  a  proposition 
would  probably  have  been  sent  down  to  the  House  of  Delegates, 

1785.  LETTERS  123 

where  it  would  have  been  better  relished  by  many  than  the 
Assize  plan.  The  objections  made  to  the  latter  were,  that  as  it 
required  the  issues  to  be  made  up  and  the  judgments  to  be 
awarded  in  the  General  Court,  it  was  but  a  partial  relief  to 
suitors,  and  might  render  the  service  of  double  sets  of  lawyers 
necessary.  The  friends  of  the  plan  thought  these  inconveni 
ences,  as  far  as  they  were  real,  outweighed  by  the  superior 
wisdom  and  uniformity  of  decisions  incident  to  the  plan;  not  to 
mention  the  difference  in  the  frequency  of  appeals  incident  to 
the  different  plans.  In  order  to  leave  as  few  handles  as  possi 
ble  for  cavil,  the  bill  omitted  all  the  little  regulations  which 
would  follow  of  course,  and  will  therefore  need  a  supplement. 
To  give  time  for  this  provision,  as  well  as  by  way  of  collecting 
the  mind  of  the  public,  the  commencement  of  the  law  is  made 
posterior  to  the  next  session  of  assembly.  The  places  fixed  for 
the  Assize  Courts  are  Northumberland  Court  House,  Willianis- 
burg,  Accomack  Court  House,  Suffolk,  Richmond,  Petersburg, 
Brunswick  Court  House,  King  and  Queen  Court  House,  Prince 
Edward  Court  House,  Bedford  Court  House,  Montgomery  and 
Washington  C*  Houses  alternately,  Staunton,  Charlottesville, 
Fredericksburg,  Dumfries,  Winchester,  and  Monongalia  Court 
House.  Besides  the  judicial  advantages  hoped  from  this  inno 
vation,  we  consider  it  as  a  means  of  reconciling  to  our  Govern 
ment  the  discontented  extremities  of  the  State. 

The  subject  of  clearing  these  great  riv- 

An   act  for  opening  . ° 

and  extending  the  navi-  ers  was  brought  lorward  early  in  the  bes- 
gationofPotowmacriv-  sioilj  undcr  the  auspices  Of  General  Wash- 
An  act  for  do.  do.  of  ington,  who  had  written  an  interesting  pri 
vate  letter  on  it  to  Governor  Harrison, 
which  the  latter  communicated  to  the  General  Assembly.  The 
conversation  of  the  General,  during  a  visit  paid  to  Richmond 
in  the  course  of  the  Session,  still  further  impressed  the  magni 
tude  of  the  object  on  sundry  members.  Shortly  after  his  de 
parture,  a  joint  memorial  from  a  number  of  Citizens  of  Virginia 
and  Maryland,  interested  in  the  Potowmac,  was  presented  to 
the  Assembly,  stating  the  practicability  and  importance  of  the 
work,  and  praying  for  an  act  of  incorporation,  and  grant  of 


124  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17S5. 

perpetual  toll  to  the  undertakers  of  it.  A  bill  had  been  pre 
pared  at  the  same  meeting  which  produced  the  memorial,  and 
was  transmitted  to  Richmond  at  the  same  time.  A  like  memo 
rial  and  bill  went  to  Annapolis,  where  the  Legislature  of  Mary 
land  were  sitting. 

The  Assembly  here  lent  a  ready  ear  to  the  project;  but  a  dif 
ficulty  arose  from  the  height  of  the  tolls  proposed,  the  danger 
of  destroying  the  uniformity  essential  in  the  proceedings  of  the 
two  States  by  altering  them,  and  the  scarcity  of  time  for  nego- 
ciating  with  Maryland  a  bill  satisfactory  to  both  States.  Short 
as  the  time  was,  however,  the  attempt  was  decided  on,  and  the 
negociation  committed  to  General  Washington  himself.  Gen 
eral  Gates,  who  happened  to  be  in  the  way,  and  Col.  Blackburn, 
were  associated  with  him.  The  latter  did  not  act;  the  two 
former  pushed  immediately  to  Annapolis,  where  the  sickness  of 
General  Gates  threw  the  whole  agency  on  General  Washing 
ton.  By  his  exertions,  in  concert  with  Committees  of  the  two 
branches  of  the  Legislature,  an  amendment  of  the  plan  was 
digested  in  a  few  days,  passed  through  both  houses  in  one  day, 
with  nine  dissenting  voices  only,  and  despatched  for  Richmond, 
where  it  arrived  just  in  time  for  the  close  of  the  Session.  A 
corresponding  act  was  immediately  introduced,  and  passed  with 
out  opposition. 

The  scheme  declares  that  the  subscribers  shall  be  an  incorpo 
rated  body;  that  there  shall  be  500  shares,  amounting  to  about 
220,000  dollars,  of  which  the  States  of  Virginia  and  Maryland 
are  each  to  take  50  shares;  that  the  tolls  shall  be  collected  in 
three  portions,  at  the  three  principal  falls,  and  with  the  works 
vest  as  real  estate  in  the  members  of  the  Company;  and  that  the 
works  shall  be  begun  within  one  year  and  finished  within  ten 
years,  under  the  penalty  of  entire  forfeiture. 

Previous  to  the  receipt  of  the  act  from  Annapolis,  a  bill  on 
a  different  plan  had  been  brought  in  and  proceeded  on  for 
clearing  James  River.  It  proposed  that  subscriptions  should 
be  taken  by  Trustees,  and,  under  their  management,  solemnly 
appropriated  to  the  object  in  view;  that  they  should  be  regarded 
as  a  loan  to  the  State,  should  bear  an  interest  of  10  per  cent., 

1785.  LETTERS.  125 

and  should  entitle  the  subscriber  to  the  double  of  the  principal 
remaining  undischarged  at  the  end  of  a  moderate  period;  and 
that  the  tolls  to  be  collected  should  stand  inviolably  pledged 
for  both  principal  and  interest.  It  was  thought  better  for  the 
public  to  present  this  exuberant  harvest  to  the  subscribers  than 
to  grant  them  a  perpetuity  in  the  tolls.  In  the  case  of  the 
Potowmac,  which  depended  on  another  authority  as  well  as  our 
own,  we  were  less  at  liberty  to  consider  what  would  be  best  in 
itself.  Exuberant,  however,  as  the  harvest  appeared,  it  was 
pronounced  by  good  judges  an  inadequate  bait  for  subscriptions, 
even  from  those  otherwise  interested  in  the  work,  and  on  the 
arrival  and  acceptance  of  the  Potowmac  plan,  it  was  found 
advisable  to  pass  a  similar  one  in  favor  of  James  River.  The 
circumstantial  variations  in  the  latter  are:  1.  The  sum  to  be 
aimed  at  in  the  first  instance  is  100,000  Dollars  only.  2.  The 
shares,  which  are  the  same  in  number  with  those  of  Potowmac, 
are  reduced  to  200  dollars  each,  and  the  number  of  public  shares 
raised  to  100.  3.  The  tolls  are  reduced  to  half  of  the  aggre 
gate  of  the  Potowmac  tolls.  4.  In  case  the  falls  at  this  place, 
where  alone  tolls  are  to  be  paid,  shall  be  first  opened,  the  Com 
pany  are  permitted  to  receive  the  tolls  immediately,  and  con 
tinue  to  do  so  till  the  lapse  of  ten  years,  within  which  the  whole 
river  is  to  be  made  navigable.  5.  A  right  of  pre-emption  is 
reserved  to  the  public  on  all  transfers  of  shares.  These  acts 
are  very  lengthy,  and  having  passed  in  all  the  precipitancy 
which  marks  the  concluding  stages  of  a  session,  abound,  I  fear, 
with  inaccuracies. 

In  addition  to  these  acts,  joint  resolutions  have  passed  the 
Legislatures  of  Maryland  and  Virginia  for  clearing  a  road  from 
the  head  of  the  Potowmac  navigation  to  Cheat  river,  or  if 
necessary  to  Monongalia,  and  3, 333^  Dollars  are  voted  for  the 
work  by  each  State.*  Pennsylvania  is  also  to  be  applied  to  by 
the  Governors  of  the  two  States  for  leave  to  clear  a  road 
through  her  jurisdiction,  if  it  should  be  found  necessary,  from 
Potowmac  to  Yohogania;  to  which  the  Assembly  here  have 

*  Jour.,  p.  91. 

126  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

added  a  proposition  to  unite  with  Maryland  in  representing  to 
Pennsylvania  the  advantages  which  will  accrue  to  a  part  of  her 
citizens  from  opening  the  proposed  communication  with  the  Sea, 
and  the  reasonableness  of  her  securing  to  those  who  arc  to  be 
at  the  expence  the  use  of  her  waters  as  a  thoroughfare  to  and 
from  the  Country  beyond  her  limits,  free  from  all  imposts  and 
restrictions  whatever,  and  as  a  channel  of  trade  with  her  citi 
zens,  free  from  greater  imposts  than  may  be  levied  on  any  other 
channel  of  importation.*  This  Resolution  did  not  pass  till  it 
was  too  late  to  refer  it  to  General  Washington's  negotiations 
with  Maryland.  It  now  makes  a  part  of  the  task  allotted  to 
the  Commissioners  who  are  to  settle  with  Maryland  the  juris 
diction  and  navigation  of  Potowmac,  below  tide  water.  By 
another  Resolution  of  this  State,  persons  are  to  be  forthwith 
appointed  by  the  Executive  to  survey  the  upper  parts  of  James 
River,  the  country  through  which  a  road  must  pass  to  the  navi 
gable  waters  of  New  River,  and  these  waters  down  to  the 
Ohio.t  I  am  told  by  a  member  of  the  Assembly,  who  seems  to 
be  well  acquainted  both  with  the  intermediate  ground  and  with 
the  western  waters  in  question,  that  a  road  of  25  or  30  miles  in 
length  will  link  these  waters  with  James  River,  and  will  strike 
a  branch  of  the  former  which  yields  a  fine  navigation,  and  falls 
into  the  main  stream  of  the  Kenhawa  below  the  only  obstruc 
tions  lying  in  this  river  down  to  the  Ohio.  If  these  be  facts, 
James  River  will  have  a  great  superiority  over  Potowmac,  the 
road  from  which  to  Cheat  river  is,  indeed,  computed  by  General 
Washington  at  20  miles  only,  but  he  thinks  the  expence  of 
making  the  latter  navigable  will  require  a  continuation  of  the 
road  to  Monongalia,  which  will  lengthen  it  to  40  miles.  The 
road  to  Yohogania  is  computed  by  the  General  at  30  miles. 

By  another  resolution,  Commissioners  are  to  be  appointed  to 
survey  the  ground  for  a  canal  between  the  waters  of  Elizabeth 
river  and  those  of  North  Carolina,  and  in  case  the  best  course 
for  such  a  canal  shall  require  the  concurrence  of  that  State,  to 
concert  a  joint  plan  and  report  the  same  to  the  next  session  of 

*  Jour.,  p.  101.  f  Idem,  p.  102. 

1785.  LETTERS.  127 

Assembly.*    Besides  the  trade  which  will  flow  through  this 
channel  from  North  Carolina  to  Norfolk,  the  large  district  of 
Virginia  watered  by  the  Roanoake  will  be  doubled  in  its  value 
by  it. 
An  act  vesting  in  G.        The  Treasurer  is  by  this  actf  directed 

Washington  a  certain  in-     to  subscribe  50   shares  in  the  Potowmac 
terest  in  the  Companies 

for  opening  James  and  and  100  shares  m  the  James  River  Com 
panies,  which  shall  vest  in  General  Wash 
ington  and  his  heirs.  This  mode  of  adding  some  substantial  to 
the  many  honorary  rewards  bestowed  on  him  was  deemed  least 
injurious  to  his  delicacy,  as  well  as  least  dangerous  as  a  prece 
dent.  It  was  substituted  in  place  of  a  direct  pension,  urged  on 
the  House  by  the  indiscreet  zeal  of  some  of  his  friends.  Though 
it  will  not  be  an  equivalent  succour  in  all  respects,  it  will  save 
the  General  from  subscriptions  which  would  have  oppressed  his 
finances;  and  if  the  schemes  be  executed  within  the  period  fixed, 
may  yield  a  revenue  for  some  years  before  the  term  of  his. if  At 
all  events,  it  will  demonstrate  the  grateful  wishes  of  his  Country, 
and  will  promote  the  object  which  he  has  so  much  at  heart. 
The  earnestness  with  which  he  espouses  the  undertaking  is 
hardly  to  be  described,  and  shews  that  a  mind  like  his,  capable 
of  great  views,  and  which  has  long  been  occupied  with  them, 
cannot  bear  a  vacancy;  and  surely  he  could  not  have  chosen  an 
occupation  more  worthy  of  succeeding  to  that  of  establishing 
the  political  rights  of  his  Country  than  the  patronage  of  works 
for  the  extensive  and  lasting  improvement  of  its  natural  advan 
tages;  works  which  will  double  the  value  of  half  the  lands 
within  the  Commonwealth,  will  extend  its  commerce,  link  with 
its  interests  those  of  the  Western  States,  and  lessen  the  emigra 
tion  of  its  citizens  by  enhancing  the  profitableness  of  situations 
which  they  now  desert  in  search  of  better. 
An  act  to  discharge  Our  successive  postponements  had  thrown 

the  people  of  this  Com-    the  whole  tax  of  1784  on  the  year  1785. 

monwealtb    from    one  .     .  " 

half  of  the  tax  for  the     The  remission,  therefore,  still  leaves  three 

year  1785.  halves  to  be  collected.    The  plentiful  crops 

*  Jour.,  p.  102.  f  Jour.,  p.  105-6-7.  J  Sic  in  MS. 

128  WORKS    OF    MADISON  1785. 

on  hand  both  of  Corn  and  Tobacco,  and  the  price  of  the  latter, 
which  is  vibrating  on  this  river  between  36s.  and  40s.,  seem 
to  enable  the  country  to  bear  the  burden.  A  few  more  plen 
tiful  years,  with  steadiness  in  our  councils,  will  put  our  credit 
on  a  decent  footing.  The  payments  from  this  State  to  the 
Continental  treasury  between  April,  1783,  and  November, 
1784,  amount  to  £123,202  11s.  1-Jd.,  Virginia  currency.  The 
printed  report  herewith  inclosed  will  give  you  a  rude  idea  of 
our  finances. 

J.  Rumsey,  by  a  memorial  to  the  last 

An  act  giving  James  *        J 

Rumsey  the  exclusive  session,  represented  that  he  had  invented 
I±^J&££  *  mechanism  by  which  a  boat  might  be 
tain  boats  for  a  limited  worked  with  little  labor,  at  the  rate  of 
from  25  to  40  miles  a  day,  against  a  stream 
running  at  the  rate  of  10  miles  an  hour,  and  prayed  that  the 
disclosure  of  his  invention  might  be  purchased  by  the  public. 
The  apparent  extravagance  of  his  pretensions  brought  a  ridi 
cule  upon  them,  and  nothing  was  done.  In  the  recess  of  the 
Assembly,  he  exemplified  his  machinery  to  General  Washington 
and  a  few  other  gentlemen,  who  gave  a  certificate  of  the  reality 
and  importance  of  the  invention,  which  opened  the  ears  of  the 
Assembly  to  a  second  memorial.  The  act  gives  a  monopoly  for 
ten  years,  reserving  a  right  to  abolish  it  at  any  time  by  paying 
£10,000.  The  inventor  is  soliciting  similar  acts  from  other 
States,  and  will  not,  I  suppose,  publish  the  secret  till  he  either 
obtains  or  despairs  of  them. 

This  act  authorises  the  surrender  of  a 

An  act  for  punishing        ...  „  n  .  ...  .         . 

certain  offences  injuri-  citizen  to  a  foreign  Sovereign  within  whose 
thTs  Commomv^th7 °f  ackno ^ledged  jurisdiction  the  citizen  shall 
commit  a  crime,  of  which  satisfactory  proof 
shall  be  exhibited  to  Congress,  and  for  which,  in  the  judgment 
of  Congress,  the  law  of  nations  exacts  such  surrender.  This 
measure  was  suggested  by  the  danger  of  our  being  speedily  em 
broiled  with  the  nations  contiguous  to  the  United  States,  par 
ticularly  the  Spaniards,  by  the  licentious  and  predatory  spirit 
of  some  of  our  western  people.  In  several  instances  gross  out 
rages  are  said  to  have  been  already  practiced.  The  measure 

1785.  LETTERS.  129 

was  warmly  patronized  by  Mr.  Henry  and  most  of  the  forensic 
members,  and  no  less  warmly  opposed  by  the  Speaker  and  some 
others.  The  opponents  contended  that  such  surrenders  were 
unknown  to  the  law  of  nations,  and  were  interdicted  by  our 
declaration  of  rights.  Yattel,  however,  is  express  as  to  the 
case  of  Robbers,  murderers,  and  incendiaries.  Grotius  quotes 
various  instances  in  which  great  offenders  have  been  given  up 
by  their  proper  Sovereigns  to  be  punished  by  the  offended  Sov 
ereigns.  Puffendorf  only  refers  to  Grotius.  I  have  had  no 
opportunity  of  consulting  other  authorities. 

With  regard  to  the  Bill  of  rights,  it  was  alledged  to  be  no 
more,  or,  rather,  less  violated  by  considering  crimes  committed 
against  other  laws  as  not  falling  under  the  notice  of  our  own,  and 
sending  our  citizens  to  be  tried  where  the  cause  of  trial  arose, 
than  to  try  them  under  our  own  laws  without  a  jury  of  the  vicin 
age,  and  without  being  confronted  with  their  accusers  or  wit 
nesses;  as  must  be  the  case,  if  they  be  tried  at  all  for  such  offences 
under  our  own  laws.  And  to  say  that  such  offenders  should 
neither  be  given  up  for  punishment,  nor  be  punished  within  their 
own  Country,  would  amount  to  a  licence  for  every  aggression, 
and  would  sacrifice  the  peace  of  the  whole  community  to  the 
impunity  of  the  worst  members  of  it.  The  necessity  of  a  qual 
ified  interpretation  of  the  bill  of  rights  was  also  inferred  from 
the  law  of  the  Confederacy  which  requires  the  surrender  of  our 
citizens  to  the  laws  of  other  States,  in  cases  of  treason,  felony, 
or  other  high  misdemesnors.  The  act  provides,  however,  for  a 
domestic  trial  in  cases  where  a  surrender  may  not  be  justified 
or  insisted  upon,  and  in  cases  of  aggressions  on  the  Indians. 

An  act  for  incorpora-  This  act  Declares  the  Ministers  and  Ves- 
ting  the  Protestant  Epis-  tries,  who  are  to  be  triennially  chosen  in 
each  parish,  a  body  corporate,  enables  them 
to  hold  property  not  exceeding  the  value  of  £800  per  annum, 
and  gives  sanction  to  a  Convention,  which  is  to  be  composed  of 
the  clergy  and  a  lay  deputy  from  each  parish,  and  is  to  regulate 
the  affairs  of  the  Church.  It  was  understood  by  the  House  of 
Delegates  that  the  Convention  was  to  consist  of  two  laymen  for 

VOL.  i.  9 

130  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

each  clergyman,  and  an  amendment  was  received  for  that  ex 
press  purpose.  It  so  happened  that  the  insertion  of  the  amend 
ment  did  not  produce  that  effect,  and  the  mistake  was  never 
discovered  till  the  bill  had  passed  and  was  in  print.  Another 
circumstance  still  more  singular  is,  that  the  act  is  so  construed 
as  to  deprive  the  vestries  of  the  uncontrolled  right  of  electing 
Clergymen,  unless  it  be  referred  to  them  by  the  canons  of  the 
Convention,  and  that  this  usurpation  actually  escaped  the  eye 
both  of  the  friends  and  adversaries  of  the  measure,  both  parties 
taking  the  contrary  for  granted  throughout  the  whole  progress 
of  it.  The  former,  as  well  as  the  latter,  appear  now  to  be  dis 
satisfied  with  what  has  been  done,  and  will  probably  concur  in 
a  revision,  if  not  a  repeal  of  the  law.  Independently  of  these 
oversights,  the  law  is  in  various  points  of  view  exceptionable. 
But  the  necessity  of  some  sort  of  incorporation  for  the  purpose 
of  holding  and  managing  the  property  of  the  Church  could  not 
well  be  denied,  nor  a  more  harmless  modification  of  it  now  ob 
tained.  A  negative  of  the  bill,  too,  would  have  doubled  the 
eagerness  and  the  pretexts  for  a  much  greater  evil,  a  general 
Assessment,  which,  there  is  good  ground  to  believe,  was  parried 
by  this  partial  gratification  of  its  warmest  votaries. 

A  Resolution  for  a  legal  provision  for  the  "teachers  of  th-e 
Christian  Religion  "  had  early  in  the  session  been  proposed  by 
Mr.  Henry,  and,  in  spite  of  all  the  opposition  that  could  be 
mustered,  carried  by  47  against  32  votes.  Many  petitions  from 
below  the  blue  ridge  had  prayed  for  such  a  law;  and  though 
several  from  the  Presbyterian  laity  beyond  it  were  in  a  contrary 
stile,  the  Clergy  of  that  sect  favored  it.  The  other  sects  seemed 
to  be  passive.  The  Resolution  lay  some  weeks  before  a  bill 
was  brought  in,  and  the  bill  some  weeks  before  it  was  called 
for;  after  the  passage  of  the  incorporating  act  it  was  taken  up, 
and,  on  the  third  reading,  ordered  by  a  small  majority  to  be 
printed  for  consideration.  The  bill,  in  its  present  dress,  pro 
poses  a  tax  of  blank  per  cent,  on  all  taxable  property,  for  sup 
port  of  Teachers  of  the  Christian  Religion.  Each  person  when 
he  pays  his  tax  is  to  name  the  society  to  which  he  dedicates  it, 

1785.  LETTERS.  131 

and  in  case  of  refusal  to  do  so,  the  tax  is  to  be  applied  to  the 
maintenance  of  a  school  in  the  County.  As  the  bill  stood  for 
some  time,  the  application  in  such  cases  was  to  be  made  by  the 
Legislature  to  pious  uses.  In  a  committee  of  the  whole  it  was 
determined,  by  a  majority  of  7  or  8,  that  the  word  "  Christian  " 
should  be  exchanged  for  the  word  "  Religious."  On  the  report 
to  the  House,  the  pathetic  zeal  of  the  late  Governor  Harrison 
gained  a  like  majority  for  reinstating  discrimination.  Should 
the  bill  pass  into  a  law  in  its  present  form,  it  may  and  will  be 
easily  eluded.  It  is  chiefly  obnoxious  on  account  of  its  dishon 
orable  principle  and  dangerous  tendency. 

The  subject  of  the  British  debts  underwent  a  reconsideration 
on  the  motion  of  Mr.  Jones.  Though  no  answer  had  been  re 
ceived  from  Congress  to  the  Resolutions  passed  at  the  last  ses 
sion,  a  material  change  had  evidently  taken  place  in  the  mind 
of  the  Assembly,  proceeding  in  part  from  a  more  dispassionate 
view  of  the  question,  in  part  from  the  intervening  exchange  of 
the  ratifications  of  the  Treaty.  Mr.  Henry  was  out  of  the  way. 
His  previous  conversation,  I  have  been  told,  favored  the  recon 
sideration;  the  Speaker,  the  other  champion  at  the  last  session 
against  the  Treaty,  was  at  least  half  a  proselyte.  The  propo 
sition  rejected  interest  during  the  period  of  blank,  and  left  the 
periods  of  payment  blank.  In  this  form  it  was  received  with 
little  opposition,  and  by  a  very  great  majority.  After  much 
discussion  and  several  nice  divisions,  the  first  blank  was  filled 
up  with  the  period  between  the  19  of  April,  1775,  and  the  3d 
of  March,  1783,  the  commencement  and  cessation  of  hostilities; 
and  the  second,  with  seven  annual  payments.  Whilst  the  bill 
was  depending,  some  proceedings  of  the  Glasgow  Merchants 
were  submitted  to  the  House  of  Delegates,  in  which  they  signi 
fied  their  readiness  to  receive  their  debts  in  four  annual  pay 
ments,  with  immediate  security  and  summary  recoveries  at  the 
successive  periods,  and  were  silent  as  to  the  point  of  interest. 
Shortly  after  were  presented  memorials  from  the  Merchants  of 
this  Town  and  Petersburg,  representing  the  advantage  which  a 
compliance  with  the  Glasgow  overtures  would  give  the  foreign 
over  the  domestic  creditors.  Very  little  attention  seemed  to  be 

132  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

paid  by  the  House  to  the  overtures,  tho',  as  the  Treaty  was  not 
to  be  literally  pursued,  the  shadow  of  assent  from  the  other 
party  ,vas  worthy  of  being  attended  to.  In  the  Senate,  the  bill 
met  with  a  diversity  of  opinions.  By  a  majority  of  one  voice 
only  an  attempt  to  put  all  our  domestic  debts  on  the  same  foot 
ing  with  British  debts  was  lost.  Whether  this  was  sincere,  or 
a  side  blow  at  the  bill,  I  am  unable  to  say.  An  attempt  was 
next  made  to  put  on  the  same  footing  all  those  who  left  this 
Country  and  joined  the  other  side,  or  who  remained  within  the 
British  territories  for  one  year  at  any  time  since  the  19th  April, 
1775,  or  who  refused  a  tender  of  paper  money  before  January, 
1779.  These  discriminations  were  almost  unanimously  disagreed 
to  by  the  House  of  Delegates.  The  Senate  insisted.  The  former 
proposed  a  conference.  The  Senate  concurred.  The  Conference 
produced  a  proposition  from  the  House  of  Delegates,  to  which 
the  Senate  assented;  but  before  the  assent  was  notified,  an  inci 
dent  happened  which  has  left  the  bill  in  a  very  singular  situa 

The  delays  attending  this  measure  had  spun  it  out  to  the  day 
preceding  the  one  prefixed  for  a  final  adjournment.  Several 
of  the  members  went  over  to  Manchester  in  the  evening,  with 
an  intention,  it  is  to  be  presumed,  of  returning  the  next  morn 
ing.  The  severity  of  the  night  rendered  their  passage  back  the 
next  morning  impossible.  Without  them  there  was  no  house. 
The  impatience  of  the  members  was  such  as  might  be  supposed. 
Some  were  for  stigmatizing  the  absentees  and  adjourning.  The 
rest  were  some  for  one  thing,  some  for  another.  At  length  it 
was  agreed  to  wait  until  the  next  day.  The  next  day  presented 
the  same  obstructions  in  the  river.  A  canoe  was  sent  over  for 
enquiry  by  the  Manchester  party,  but  they  did  not  chuse  to 
venture  themselves.  The  impatience  increased;  warm  resolu 
tions  were  agitated.  They  ended,  however,  in  an  agreement  to 
wait  one  day  more.  On  the  morning  of  the  third  day  the  pros 
pect  remained  the  same.  Patience  could  hold  out  no  longer, 
and  an  adjournment  to  the  last  day  of  March  ensued.  The 
question  to  be  decided  is,  whether  a  bill  which  has  passed  the 
House  of  Delegates,  and  been  assented  to  by  the  Senate,  but 

LETTERS.  133 

not  sent  down  to  the  House  of  Delegates,  nor  enrolled,  nor  ex 
amined,  nor  signed  by  the  two  Speakers,  and  consequently  not 
of  record,  is  or  is  not  a  law?  A  bill  for  the  better  regulation 
of  the  customs  is  in  the  same  situation. 

After  the  passage  of  the  Bill  for  British  debts  through  the 
House  of  Delegates,  a  bill  was  introduced  for  liquidating  the 
depreciated  payments  into  the  Treasury,  and  making  the  debtors 
liable  for  the  deficiency.  A  foresight  of  this  consequential  step 
had  shewn  itself  in  every  stage  of  the  first  bill.  It  was  opposed 
by  Governor  Harrison  principally,  and  laid  asleep  by  the  refu 
sal  of  interested  members  to  vote  on  the  question,  and  the  want 
of  a  quorum  without  them. 

Among  the  abortive  measures  may  be  mentioned,  also,  a  prop 
osition  to  authorise  the  collection  of  the  impost  by  Congress  as 
soon  as  the  concurrence  of  twelve  States  should  be  obtained. 
Connecticut  had  set  the  example  in  this  project.  The  proposi 
tion  was  made  by  the  Speaker,  and  supported  by  the  late  Gov 
ernor.  It  was  disagreed  to  by  a  very  large  majority  on  the 
following  grounds:  1.  The  appearance  of  a  schism  in  the  Con 
federacy  which  it  would  present  to  foreign  eyes.  2.  Its  ten 
dency  to  combinations  of  smaller  majorities  of  the  States.  3. 
The  channel  it  would  open  for  smuggling;  goods  imported  into 
Rhode  Island  in  such  case  might  not  only  be  spread  by  land 
through  the  adjacent  States,  but  if  slipped  into  any  neighbour 
ing  port,  might  thence  be  carried,  duty-free,  to  any  part  of  the 
associated  States.  4.  The  greater  improbability  of  a  union  of 
twelve  States  on  such  new  ground  than  of  the  conversion  of 
Rhode  Island  to  the  old  one.  5.  The  want  of  harmony  among 
the  other  States  which  would  be  betrayed  by  the  miscarriage 
of  such  an  experiment,  and  the  fresh  triumph  and  obstinacy 
which  Rhode  Island  would  derive  from  it. 

The  French  vice  Consul  in  this  State  has  complained  to  the 
Assembly  that  the  want  of  legal  power  over  our  Sheriffs,  Goal- 
ers,  and  prisons,  both  renders  his  decrees  nugatory,  and  ex 
poses  his  person  to  insults  from  dissatisfied  litigants.  The  As 
sembly  have  taken  no  step  whatever  on  the  subject,  being  at  a 
loss  to  know  what  ought  to  be  done,  in  compliance  either  with 

134  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1783. 

general  usage  or  that  of  France  in  particular.  I  have  often 
wondered  that  the  proposed  Convention  between  France  and 
the  United  States  for  regulating  the  consular  functions  has 
never  been  executed.  The  delay  may  prove  unfriendly  both  to 
their  mutual  harmony  and  their  commerce. 

Mr.  Henry  was  elected  successor  to  Mr.  Harrison  without 
competition  or  opposition.  The  victims  to  the  article  requiring 
a  triennial  removal  of  two  counsellors  were  Merriwether  Smith 
and  General  Christian.  Young  Mr.  Roane  and  Mr.  Miles  Sel- 
den  take  their  places.  Mr.  Short's  place  is  filled  by  Mr.  Joseph 

Nothing  has  passed  during  the  session  concerning  an  amend 
ment  of  the  State  Constitution.  The  friends  of  the  undertaking 
seem  to  be  multiplying  rather  than  decreasing.  Several  Peti 
tions  from  the  Western  side  of  the  Blue  ridge  appeared  in  favor 
of  it,  as  did  some  from  the  Western  side  of  the  Alleghany  pray 
ing  for  a  separate  Government.  The  latter  may  be  considered 
all  of  them  as  the  children  of  Arthur  Campbell's  ambition.  The 
Assize  Courts  and  the  opening  of  our  rivers  are  the  best  answers 
to  them. 

The  Revisal  has  but  just  issued  from  the  press.  It  consists 
of  near  100  folio  pages  in  a  small  type.  I  shall  send  you  six 
copies  by  the  first  opportunity.  £500  was  voted  at  the  Spring 
Session  to  each  of  the  acting  members  of  the  Committee,  but  no 
fund  having  been  provided  for  payment,  no  use  could  be  made 
of  the  warrants.  I  drew  yours,  however,  and  carried  them  up 
to  Orange,  where  they  now  lye.  A  vote  of  this  Session  has  pro 
vided  a  fund  which  gives  them  immediate  value.  As  soon  as  I 
get  home  I  shall  send  the  dead  warrants  to  Mr.  Nich8  Lewis, 
who  may  exchange  them  for  others,  and  draw  the  money  from 
the  Treasury. 

1785.  LETTERS.  135 


ORANGE,  March  10th.  1785. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  12th  ult.  canie  safe  to 
hand  through  the  conveyance  of  Capt.  Barber,  together  with 
the  several  articles  inclosed.  The  letter  from  Mr.  Jefferson 
speaks  of  the  state  of  things  on  the  llth  of  November  on  the 
other  side  of  the  Atlantic  as  follows:  "The  lamp  of  war  is 
kindled  here,  not  to  be  extinguished  but  by  torrents  of  blood. 
The  firing  of  the  Dutch  on  an  Imperial  vessel  going  down  the 
Scheld  has  been  followed  by  the  departure  of  the  Imperial  Min 
ister  from  the  Hague  without  taking  leave.  Troops  are  in  mo 
tion  on  both  sides  towards  the  Scheld,  but  probably  nothing 
will  be  done  till  the  Spring.  This  Court  has  been  very  silent 
as  to  the  part  they  will  act.  Yet  their  late  Treaty  with  Hol 
land,  as  well  as  a  certainty  that  Holland  would  not  have  pro 
ceeded  so  far  without  assurance  of  aid,  furnish  sufficient  ground 
to  conclude  they  will  side  actively  with  the  Republic.  The 
King  of  Prussia,  it  is  believed,  will  do  the  same.  He  has 
patched  up  his  little  disputes  with  Holland  and  Dantzic.  The 
prospect  is,  that  Holland,  France,  Prussia,  and  the  Porte,  will 
be  engaged  against  the  two  Imperial  Courts.  England,  I  think, 
will  remain  neutral.  Their  hostility  has  attained  an  incredible 
height.  Notwithstanding  this,  they  expect  to  keep  our  trade 
and  cabotage  to  themselves  by  the  virtue  of  their  proclamation. 
They  have  no  idea  that  we  can  so  far  act  in  concert  as  to  estab 
lish  retaliating  measures.  Their  Irish  affairs  will  puzzle  them 
extremely.  Should  things  get  into  confusion  there,  perhaps  they 
will  be  more  disposed  to  wish  a  friendly  connection  with  us. 
The  Congress  which  met  on  the  25th  of  October  consisted  of 
deputies  from  8  Counties  only.  They  came  to  resolutions  on 
the  reform  of  Parliament  and  adjourned  to  the  20th  of  January, 
recommending  to  the  other  Counties  to  send  deputies  then." 

I  learn  from  an  intelligent  person  lately  from  Kentucky,  that 
the  Convention  there  produced  nothing  but  a  statement  of  griev 
ances  and  a  claim  of  redress.  The  topic  of  independence  was 
not  regularly  brought  forward  at  all,  and  scarcely  agitated 


without  doors.  It  is  supposed  that  the  late  extension  of  the 
tax  on  patents,  which,  as  it  stood  before,  is  on  the  list  of  griev 
ances,  will  turn  the  scale  in  favor  of  that  measure. 


ORANGE,  March  20th,  178.3. 

MY  DEAR  SIR. — Your  favour  of  the  15th,  continued  on  the 
17th  of  December,  came  very  slowly,  but  finally  safe  to  hand. 
The  warm  expressions  of  regard  which  it  contains  are  extremely 
flattering  to  me;  and  the  more  so  as  they  so  entirely  correspond 
with  my  own  wishes  for  everything  which  may  enter  into  your 

You  have  not  erred  in  supposing  me  out  of  the  number  of 
those  who  have  relaxed  their  anxiety  concerning  the  navigation 
of  the  Mississippi.  If  there  be  any  who  really  look  on  the  use 
of  that  river  as  an  object  not  to  be  sought  or  desired  by  the 
United  States,  I  cannot  but  think  they  frame  their  policy  on 
both  very  narrow  and  very  delusive  foundations.  It  is  true,  if 
the  States  which  are  to  be  established  on  the  waters  of  the  Mis 
sissippi  were  to  be  viewed  in  the  same  relation  to  the  Atlantic 
States  as  exists  between  the  heterogeneous  and  hostile  Societies 
of  Europe,  it  might  not  appear  strange  that  a  distinction,  or 
even  an  opposition  of  interests,  should  be  set  up.  But  is  it 
true  that  they  can  be  viewed  in  such  a  relation?  Will  the  set 
tlements  which  are  beginning  to  take  place  on  the  branches  of 
the  Mississippi  be  so  many  distinct  societies,  or  only  an  expan 
sion  of  the  same  society?  So  many  new  bodies,  or  merely  the 
growth  of  the  old  one  ?  Will  they  consist  of  a  hostile  or  a  for 
eign  people,  or  will  they  not  be  bone  of  our  bone  and  flesh  of 
our  flesh  ?  Besides  the  confederal  band  within  which  they  will 
be  comprehended,  how  much  will  the  connection  be  strength 
ened  by  the  ties  of  friendship,  of  marriage,  and  consanguinity  ? 
ties  which,  it  may  be  remarked,  will  be  even  more  numerous 
between  the  ultramontane  and  the  Atlantic  States  than  between 

1785.  LETTERS.  137 

any  two  of  the  latter.  But  viewing  this  subject  through  the 
medium  least  favorable  to  my  ideas,  it  still  presents  to  the 
United  States  sufficient  inducements  to  insist  on  the  navigation 
of  the  Mississippi.  Upon  this  navigation  depends  essentially 
the  value  of  that  vast  field  of  territory  which  is  to  be  sold  for 
the  benefit  of  the  common  Treasury;  and  upon  the  value  of  this 
territory,  when  settled,  will  depend  the  portion  of  the  public 
burdens  of  which  the  old  States  will  be  relieved  by  the  new. 
Add  to  this  the  stake  which  a  considerable  proportion  of  those 
who  remain  in  the  old  States  will  acquire  in  the  new  by  adven 
tures  in  land,  either  on  their  own  immediate  account  or  that  of 
their  descendants. 

Nature  has  given  the  use  of  the  Mississippi  to  those  who  may 
settle  on  its  waters,  as  she  gave  to  the  United  States  their 
independence.  The  impolicy  of  Spain  may  retard  the  former, 
as  that  of  Great  Britain  did  the  latter.  But  as  Great  Britain 
could  not  defeat  the  latter,  neither  will  Spain  the  former.  Na 
ture  seems  on  all  sides  to  be  reasserting  those  rights  which  have 
so  long  been  trampled  on  by  tyranny  and  bigotry.  Philosophy 
and  Commerce  are  the  auxiliaries  to  whom  she  is  indebted  for 
her  triumphs.  Will  it  be  presumptuous  to  say,  that  those  na 
tions  will  shew  most  wisdom,  as  well  as  acquire  most  glory, 
who,  instead  of  forcing  her  current  into  artificial  channels,  en 
deavour  to  ascertain  its  tendency  and  to  anticipate  its  effects? 
If  the  United  States  were  to  become  parties  to  the  occlusion  of 
the  Mississippi,  they  would  be  guilty  of  treason  against  the 
very  laws  under  which  they  obtained  and  hold  their  national 

The  repugnance  of  Spain  to  an  amicable  regulation  of  the 
use  of  the  Mississippi  is  the  natural  offspring  of  a  system  which 
everybody  but  herself  has  long  seen  to  be  as  destructive  to  her 
interest  as  it  is  dishonorable  to  her  character.  An  extensive 
desert  seems  to  have  greater  charms  in  her  eye  than  a  flourish 
ing  but  limited  empire:  nay,  than  an  extensive,  flourishing  em 
pire.  Humanity  cannot  suppress  the  wish  that  some  of  those 
gifts  which  she  abuses  were  placed  by  just  means  in  hands  that 
would  turn  them  to  a  wiser  account.  What  a  metamorphosis 

138  WORKS    OP    MADISON.  1785. 

would  the  liberal  policy  of  France  work  in  a  little  time  on  the 
Island  of  New  Orleans?  It  would  to  her  be  a  fund  of  as  much 
real  wealth  as  Potosi  has  been  of  imaginary  wealth  to  Spain. 
It  would  become  the  Grand  Cairo  of  the  new  World. 

The  folly  of  Spain  is  not  less  displayed  in  the  means  she  em 
ploys  than  in  the  ends  she  prefers.  She  is  afraid  of  the  growth 
and  neighbourhood  of  the  United  States,  because  it  may  endan 
ger  the  tranquility  of  her  American  possessions;  and  to  obviate 
this  danger  she  proposes  to  shut  up  the  Mississippi.  If  her 
prudence  bore  any  proportion  to  her  jealousy,  she  would  sec 
that  if  the  experiment  were  to  succeed  it  would  only  double 
the  power  of  the  United  States  to  disturb  her,  at  the  same  time 
that  it  provoked  a  disposition  to  exert  it;  she  would  see  that 
the  only  offensive  weapon  which  can  render  the  United  States 
truly  formidable  to  her  is  a  navy,  and  that  if  she  could  keep  their 
inhabitants  from  crossing  the  Appalachian  ridge,  she  would  only 
drive  to  the  Sea  most  of  those  swarms  which  would  otherwise 
direct  their  course  to  the  Western  Wilderness.  She  should  re 
flect,  too,  that  as  it  is  impossible  for  her  to  destroy  the  power 
which  she  dreads,  she  ought  only  to  consult  the  means  of  pre 
venting  a  future  exertion  of  it.  What  are  those  means?  Two, 
and  two  only.  The  first  is  a  speedy  concurrence  in  such  a 
treaty  with  the  United  States  as  will  produce  a  harmony,  and 
remove  all  pretexts  for  interrupting  it.  The  second,  which 
would  in  fact  result  from  the  first,  consists  in  favouring  the  ex 
tension  of  their  settlements.  As  these  become  extended,  the 
members  of  the  Confederacy  must  be  multiplied,  and  along  with 
them  the  wills  which  are  to  direct  the  machine.  And  as  the 
wills  multiply,  so  will  the  chances  against  a  dangerous  union 
of  them.  We  experience  every  day  the  difficulty  of  drawing 
thirteen  States  into  the  same  plans.  Let  the  number  be  doubled, 
and  so  will  the  difficulty.  In  the  multitude  of  our  Counsellors, 
Spain  may  be  told,  lies  her  safety. 

If  the  temper  of  Spain  be  unfriendly  to  the  views  of  the  Uni 
ted  States,  they  may  certainly  calculate  on  the  favorable  senti 
ments  of  the  other  powers  of  Europe,  at  least  of  all  such  of  them 
as  favored  our  Independence.  The  chief  advantages  expected 

1783.  LETTERS.  139 

in  Europe  from  that  event  center  in  the  revolution  it  was  to 
produce  in  the  commerce  between  the  new  and  the  old  World. 
The  commerce  of  the  United  States  is  advantageous  to  Europe 
in  two  respects:  first,  by  the  unmanufactured  produce  which 
they  export;  secondly,  by  the  manufactured  imports  which  they 
consume.  Shut  up  the  Mississippi  and  discourage  the  settle 
ments  on  its  waters,  and  what  will  be  the  consequence?  First,  a 
greater  quantity  of  subsistence  must  be  raised  within  the  ancient 
settlements,  the  culture  of  tobacco,  indigo,  and  other  articles  for 
exportation,  be  proportionably  diminished,  and  their  price  pro- 
portionably  raised  on  the  European  consumer.  Secondly,  the 
hands  without  land  at  home  being  discouraged  from  seeking  it 
where  alone  it  could  be  found,  must  be  turned  in  a  great  degree 
to  manufacturing,  our  imports  proportionably  diminished,  and  a 
proportional  loss  fall  on  the  European  manufacturer.  Establish 
the  freedom  of  the  Mississippi,  and  let  our  emigrations  have  free 
course,  and  how  favorably  for  Europe  will  the  consequence  be 
reversed?  First,  the  culture  of  every  article  for  exportation 
will  be  extended,  and  the  price  reduced  in  favor  of  her  con 
sumers.  Secondly,  our  people  will  increase  without  an  increase 
of  our  manufacturers,  and  in  the  same  proportion  will  be  in 
creased  the  employment  and  profit  of  hers. 

These  consequences  would  affect  France,  in  common  with  the 
other  commercial  nations  of  Europe;  but  there  are  additional 
motives  which  promise  the  United  States  her  friendly  wishes  and 
offices.  Not  to  dwell  on  the  philanthropy  which  reigns  in  the 
heart  of  her  Monarch,  and  which  has  already  adorned  his  head 
with  a  crown  of  laurels,  he  cannot  be  inattentive  to  the  situa 
tion  into  which  a  controversy  between  his  antient  and  new 
allies  would  throw  him,  nor  to  the  use  which  would  be  made 
of  it  by  his  watchful  adversary.  Will  not  all  his  councils,  then, 
be  employed  to  prevent  this  controversy;  will  it  not  be  seen,  as 
the  pretensions  of  the  parties  directly  interfere,  it  can  be  pre 
vented  only  by  a  dissuasive  interposition  on  one  side  or  the 
other;  that  on  the  side  of  the  United  States  such  an  interposi 
tion  must,  from  the  nature  of  things,  be  unavailing;  or  if  their 
pretensions  for  a  moment  be  lulled,  they  would  but  awake  with 

140  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

fresh  energy,  and,  consequently,  that  the  mediating  influence  of 
France  ought  to  be  turned  wholly  on  the  side  of  Spain?  The 
influence  of  the  French  Court  over  that  of  Spain  is  known  to 
be  great.  In  America  it  is  supposed  to  be  greater  than  per 
haps  it  really  is.  The  same  may  be  said  of  the  intimacy  of  the 
Union  between  the  two  nations.  If  this  influence  should  not 
be  exerted,  this  intimacy  may  appear  to  be  the  cause.  The 
United  States  consider  Spain  as  the  only  favorite  of  their  Ally 
of  whom  they  have  ground  to  be  jealous;  and  whilst  France 
continues  to  hold  the  first  place  in  their  affections,  they  must  at 
least  be  mortified  at  any  appearance  that  the  predilection  may 
not  be  reciprocal. 

The  Mississippi  has  drawn  me  into  such  length,  that  I  fear 
you  will  have  little  patience  left  for  anything  else.  I  will  spare 
it  as  much  as  possible.  I  hear  nothing  from  Congress  except 
that  Mr.  Jay  has  accepted  his  appointment,  and  that  no  successor 
has  yet  been  chosen  to  Doctor  Franklin.  Our  Legislature  made 
a  decent  provision  for  remittances  due  for  1785  from  Virginia 
to  the  Treasury  of  the  United  States,  and  very  extensive  pro 
vision  for  opening  our  inland  navigation.  They  have  passed 
an  act  vesting  in  General  Washington  a  considerable  interest 
in  each  of  the  works  on  James  River  and  Potowmac,  but  with 
an  honorary  rather  than  lucrative  aspect.  Whether  he  will 
accept  it  or  not  I  cannot  say.  I  meant  to  have  sent  you  a  copy 
of  the  Act,  but  have  been  disappointed  in  getting  one  from  Rich 
mond.  They  also  passed  an  act  for  reforming  our  juridical 
System,  which  promises  salutary  effects;  and  did  not  pass  the 
act  for  the  corrupting  our  Religious  s}T?tem.  Whether  they 
passed  an  act  for  paying  British  debts  or  not  they  do  not  know 
themselves.  Before  the  bill  for  that  purpose  had  got  through 
the  last  usual  forms,  the  want  of  members  broke  up  the  House. 
It  remains,  therefore,  in  a  situation  which  has  no  precedent,  and 
without  a  precedent  lawyers  and  legislators  are  as  much  at  a 
loss  as  a  mariner  without  his  compass. 

The  subjects  in  which  you  interested  yourself  were  all  re 
ferred  to  the  Executive  with  power  to  do,  what  I  hope  they 
will  do  better  than  the  Assembly.  I  understood  before  I  left 

1785.  LETTERS.  141 

Richmond  that  you  would  receive  officially  from  the  Governor 
a  copy  of  the  Resolutions  which  I  sent  you.  I  received  a  letter 
a  few  days  ago  from  Mr.  Mercer,  written  in  the  bosom  of  wed 
lock  at  Mr.  Sprigg's;  another  at  the  same  time  from  Monroe, 
who  was  well  at  New  York.  I  have  nothing  to  say  of  myself 
but  that  I  have  exchanged  Richmond  for  Orange,  as  you  will 
have  seen  by  the  above  date;  that  I  enjoy  a  satisfactory  share 
of  health;  that  I  spend  the  chief  of  my  time  in  reading,  and  the 
chief  of  my  reading,  on  Law;  that  I  shall  hear  with  the  great 
est  pleasure  of  your  being  far  better  employed;  and  that  I  am. 
with  most  affectionate  esteem,  your  obt  friend  and  serv*. 


ORAXGE,  March  21st.  1785. 

DEAR  SIR  —  ********** 
I  do  not  wonder  at  the  paragraph  which  you  have  copied  from 
Mr.  Jay's  letter  to  Congress.  His  feelings  are  such  as  every 
one  must  possess  who  is  worthy  of  the  station  which  he  holds. 
If  the  Office  of  foreign  affairs  be  a  proper  one,  and  properly 
filled,  a  reference  of  all  foreign  despatches  to  it  in  the  first  in 
stance  is  so  obvious  a  course,  that  any  other  disposition  of  them 
by  Congress  seems  to  condemn  their  own  establishment,  to  af 
front  the  Minister  in  office,  and  to  put  on  him  a  label  of  caution 
against  that  respect  and  confidence  of  the  Ministers  of  foreign 
powers  which  are  essential  to  his  usefulness.  I  have  always 
conceived  the  several  ministerial  departments  of  Congress  to 
be  provisions  for  aiding  their  counsels  as  well  as  executing 
their  resolutions,  and  that  consequently,  whilst  they  retain  the 
right  of  rejecting  the  advice  which  may  come  from  either  of 
them,  they  ought  not  to  renounce  the  opportunity  of  making  use 
of  it.  The  foreign  department  is,  I  am  sensible,  in  several  re 
spects  the  most  difficult  to  be  regulated,  but  I  cannot  think  the 
question  arising  on  Mr.  Jay's  letter  is  to  be  numbered  among 
the  difficulties.  The  practice  of  Congress  during  the  adminis- 

142  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

tration  of  his  predecessor  was  never  fixed,  and  frequently  im 
proper,  and  I  always  suspected  that  his  indifference  to  the  place 
resulted,  in  part  at  least,  from  the  mortifications  to  which  this 
unsteadiness  subjected  him. 

You  will  not  be  disappointed  at  the  barrenness  which  is  hence 
to  mark  the  correspondence  on  my  part.  In  the  recess  of  the 
Legislature  few  occurrences  happen  which  can  be  interesting, 
and,  in  my  retired  situation,  few  even  of  these  fall  within  my 
knowledge.  The  situation  of  Mr.  Jones  will  probably  make 
his  correspondence  a  more  productive  one.  He  has  probably 
already  mentioned  to  you  the  advances  which  Kentucky  was 
said  to  be  making  towards  an  independent  Government.  It  is 
certain  that  a  Convention  has  been  held,  which  might  have  been 
set  on  foot  with  an  eye  to  such  an  event;  but  I  learn  from  an 
intelligent  person  lately  from  that  district,  that  its  deliberations 
turned  altogether  on  the  pressure  of  certain  acts  of  the  General 
Assembly,  and  terminated  in  a  vote  of  application  for  redress. 
He  supposes,  however,  that  the  late  extension  of  the  tax  on 
patents  will  give  a  successful  handle  to  those  who  wish  to  accel 
erate  a  separation.  This  tax  as  it  stood  before  was  in  the  first 
class  of  their  grievances. 

You  will,  I  expect,  receive  this  from  the  hands  of  Mr.  Burn 
ley,  a  young  gentleman  of  my  neighborhood,  who  has  passed 
with  reputation  thro7  Mr.  Wythe's  School,  and  has  since  taken 
out  his  forensic  diploma.  Your  civilities  to  him  will  be  well 
placed,  and  will  confer  an  obligation  on  me.  If  Col.  Grayson 
has  recovered  from  the  gout,  which,  I  hear,  arrested  him  in  the 
moment  of  his  intended  departure,  and  is  with  you,  be  so  kind 
as  to  make  my  best  respects  to  him. 

1  am,  dear  sir,  with  sincere  regard  and  esteem,  your  obedient 
friend  and  serv. 

1785.  LETTERS.  143 


ORANGE,  April  12th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR  —  * 

The  appointment  of  Mr.  Adams  to  the  Court  of  Great  Britain 
is  a  circumstance  which  does  not  contradict  my  expectations; 
nor  can  I  say  that  it  displeases  me.  Upon  Geographical  con 
siderations  New  England  will  always  have  one  of  the  principal 
appointments,  and  I  know  of  no  individual  from  that  quarter 
who  possesses  more  of  their  confidence,  or  would  possess  more 
of  that  of  the  other  States;  nor  do  I  think  him  so  well  fitted 
for  any  Court  of  equal  rank  as  that  of  London.  I  hope  it  has 
removed  all  obstacles  to  the  establishment  of  Mr.  Jefferson  at 
the  Court  of  France. 

Will  not  Congress  soon  take  up  the  subject  of  Consular  ar 
rangements?  I  should  suppose  them  at  least  of  equal  moment 
at  present  with  some  of  the  higher  appointments  which  are  likely 
to  occupy  them.  Our  friend  Mr.  Maury  is  waiting,  with  a  very 
inconvenient  suspension  of  his  other  plans,  the  event  of  the  offer 
he  has  made  of  his  services.  I  find  he  considers  Ireland  as  the 
station  next  to  be  desired  after  that  of  England.  He  conceives, 
and  I  believe  very  justly,  that  the  commercial  intercourse  be 
tween  that  Country  and  this  will  be  very  considerable,  and 
merits  our  particular  cultivation. 

I  suppose,  from  your  silence  on  the  subject,  that  the  Western 
posts  are  still  in  the  hands  of  Great  Britain.  Has  the  subject 
of  the  vacant  lands  to  be  disposed  of  been  revived?  What 
other  measures  are  on  foot  or  in  comtemplation  for  paying  off 
the  public  debts?  What  payments  have  been  made  of  late  into 
the  public  Treasury?  It  is  said  here  that  Massachusetts  is 
taking  measures  for  urging  Rhode  Island  into  the  Impost,  or 
rendering  the  Scheme  practicable  without  her  concurrence.  Is 
it  so? 

How  many  of  the  States  have  agreed  to  change  the  8th  Article 
of  the  Confederation?  The  Legislature  of  this  State  passed  a 
law  for  complying  with  the  provisional  Act  of  Congress  for 
executing  that  article  as  it  now  stands;  the  operation  of  which 

114  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178,3. 

confirms  the  necessity  of  changing  the  article.  The  law  re 
quires,  as  the  Act  of  Congress  does  among  other  things,  a  list 
of  the  Houses.  If  the  list  does  not  discriminate  the  several 
kinds  of  Houses,  how  can  Congress  collect  from  it  the  value  of 
the  improvements,  how  do  justice  to  all  their  constituents? 
And  how  can  a  discrimination  be  made  in  this  country,  where 
the  variety  is  so  infinite  and  so  unsusceptible  of  description  ? 
If  Congress  govern  themselves  by  number  alone,  this  Country 
will  certainly  appeal  to  a  more  accurate  mode  of  carrying  the 
present  rule  of  the  confederation  into  practice.  The  average 
value  of  the  improvements  in  Virginia  is  not  one-fourth,  perhaps 
not  one-tenth,  of  that  of  the  improvements  in  Pennsylvania  or 
New  England.  Compare  this  difference  with  the  proportion 
between  the  value  of  improvements  and  that  of  the  soil,  and 
what  an  immense  loss  shall  we  be  taxed  with?  The  number  of 
buildings  will  not  be  a  less  unjust  rule  than  the  number  of  acres 
for  estimating  the  respective  abilities  of  the  States. 

The  only  proceeding  of  the  late  Session  of  Assembly  which 
makes  a  noise  through  the  Country  is  that  which  relates  to  a 
General  Assessment.  The  Episcopal  people  are  generally  for 
it,  though  I  think  the  zeal  of  some  of  them  has  cooled.  The 
laity  of  the  other  sects  are  equally  unanimous  on  the  other  side. 
So  are  all  the  Clergy,  except  the  Presbyterian,  who  seem  as 
ready  to  set  up  an  establishment  which  is  to  take  them  in  as 
they  were  to  pull  down  that  which  shut  them  out.  I  do  not 
know  a  more  shameful  contrast  than  might  be  found  between 
their  memorials  on  the  latter  and  former  occasion. 

In  one  of  your  letters  received  before  I  left  Richmond  you 
expressed  a  wish  for  a  better  cypher.  Since  my  return  to 
Orange  I  have  been  able  to  get  one  made  out,  which  will  answer 
every  purpose.  I  will  either  enclose  it  herewith  or  send  it  by 
the  gentleman  who  is  already  charged  with  a  letter  for  you.  I 
wish  much  to  throw  our  correspondence  into  a  more  regular 
course.  I  would  write  regularly  every  week  if  I  had  a  regular 
conveyance  to  Fredericksburg.  As  it  is,  I  will  write  as  often 
as  I  can  find  conveyances.  The  business  of  this  neighborhood 
which  used  to  go  to  Fredericksburg  is  in  a  great  measure 

1785.  LETTERS.  145 

turned  towards  Richmond,  which  is  too  circuitous  a  channel. 
Opportunities  in  every  direction,  however,  will  be  henceforward 
multiplied  by  the  advance  of  the  season.  If  you  are  not  afraid 
of  too  much  loading  the  mail,  I  could  wish  you  to  enclose  in 
your  letters  the  last  N.  Y.  or  Philadelphia  paper. 
I  am,  dear  Sir,  yours  most  sincerely. 


ORANGE,  April  27th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  received  your  two  favors  of  Novr  llth 
and  December  8th.  Along  with  the  former  I  received  the  two 
pamphlets  on  animal  magnetism  and  the  last  aeronautic  expe 
dition,  together  with  the  phosphoretic  matches.  These  articles 
were  a  great  treat  to  my  curiosity.  As  I  had  left  Richmond 
before  they  were  brought  thither  by  Col.  Le  Maire,  I  had  no 
opportunity  of  attending  myself  to  your  wishes  with  regard  to 
him;  but  I  wrote  immediately  to  Mr.  Jones,  and  desired  him  to 
watch  over  the  necessities  of  Le  Maire.  He  wrote  me  for  an 
swer  that  the  Executive,  though  without  regular  proof  of  his 
claims,  were  so  well  satisfied  from  circumstances  of  the  justice 
of  them,  that  they  had  voted  him  <£150  for  his  relief  'till  the 
Assembly  could  take  the  whole  into  consideration.  This  infor 
mation  has  made  me  easy  on  the  subject,  though  I  have  not 
withdrawn  from  the  hands  of  Mr.  Jones  the  provisional  re 

I  thank  you  much  for  your  attention  to  my  literary  wants. 
All  the  purchases  you  have  made  for  me  are  such  as  I  should 
have  made  for  myself  with  the  same  opportunities.  You  will 
oblige  me  by  adding  to  them  the  Dictionary,  in  13  vol.,  4°,  by 
Felice  and  others.  Also,  de  Thou,  in  French.  If  the  utility  of 
Moreri  be  not  superseded  by  some  better  work,  I  should  be  glad 
to  have  him,  too.  I  am  afraid,  if  I  were  to  attempt  a  catalogue 
of  my  wants,  I  should  not  only  trouble  you  beyond  measure,  but 

VOL.  i.  10 

146  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  ITS'). 

exceed  the  limits  which  other  considerations  ought  to  prescribe 
to  me.  I  cannot,  however,  abridge  the  commission  you  were 
so  kind  as  to  take  on  yourself  in  a  former  letter,  of  procuring 
me  from  time  to  time  such  books  as  may  be  either  "old  and 
curious,  or  new  and  useful."  Under  this  description  will  fall 
those  particularized  in  my  former  letters,  to  wit :  Treatises  on 
the  ancient  or  modern  Federal  Republics,  on  the  Law  of  Na 
tions,  and  the  History,  natural  and  political,  of  the  new  World; 
to  which  I  will  add  such  of  the  Greek  and  Roman  authors, 
where  they  can  be  got  very  cheap,  as  are  worth  having,  and 
are  not  on  the  common  list  of  school  classics.  Other  books 
which  particularly  occur  are  the  translation  (French)  of  the 
historians  of  the  Roman  Empire  during  its  decline,  by  -  — ; 
Pascal's  provincial  letters;  Don  Ulloa  in  the  original;  Lin 
naeus'  best  edition;  Ordonnauces  ^Jarines;  Collection  of  Tract,? 
in  French  on  the  economies  of  different  nations,  I  forget  the  full 
title.  It  is  much  referred  to  by  Smith  on  the  Wealth  of  Nations. 
I  am  told  a  Monsr  Amelot  has  lately  published  his  travels  into 
China,  which,  if  they  have  any  merit,  must  be  very  entertaining. 
Of  Buffon,  I  have  his  original  work  of  31  vols.,  10  vols.  of  sup 
plement,  and  16  vols.  on  birds.  I  shall  be  glad  of  the  contin 
uation  as  it  may  from  time  to  time  be  published. 

I  am  so  pleased  with  the  new  invented  lamp  that  I  shall  not 
grudge  two  guineas  for  one  of  them.  I  have  seen  a  pocket 
compass  of  somewhat  larger  diameter  than  a  watch,  and  which 
may  be  carried  in  the  same  way.  It  has  a  spring  for  stopping 
the  vibration  of  the  needle  when  not  in  use.  One  of  these  would 
be  very  convenient  in  case  of  a  ramble  into  the  Western  coun 
try.  In  my  walks  for  exercise  or  amusement  objects  frequently 
present  themselves  which  it  might  be  matter  of  curiosity  to  in 
spect,  but  which  it  is  difficult  or  impossible  to  approach.  A 
portable  glass  would  consequently  be  a  source  of  many  little 
gratifications.  I  have  fancied  that  such  an  one  might  be  fitted 
into  a  case  without  making  it  too  heavy.  On  the  outside  of 
the  tube  might  be  engraved  a  scale  of  inches,  &c.  If  such  a 
project  could  be  executed  for  a  few  guineas,  I  should  be  willing 

1785.  LETTERS.  147 

to  submit  to  the  price;  if  not,  the  best  substitute,  I  suppose, 
will  be  a  pocket  telescope,  composed  of  several  tubes  so  con 
structed  as  to  slide  the  lesser  into  the  greater. 

I  should  feel  great  remorse  at  troubling  you  with  so  many 
requests  if  your  kind  and  repeated  offers  did  not  stifle  it  in 
some  measure.  Your  proposal  for  my  replacing  here  advances 
for  me  without  regard  to  the  exchange  is  liable  to  no  objec 
tion,  except  that  it  will  probably  be  too  unequal  in  my  favour. 
I  beg  that  you  will  enable  me  as  much  as  you  can  to  keep  these 
little  matters  balanced. 

The  papers  from  Le  Grand  were  sent,  as  soon  as  I  got  them, 
to  Mr.  Jones,  with  a  request  that  he  would  make  the  use  of 
them  which  you  wished  me  to  do. 

Your  remarks  on  the  tax  on  transfers  of  land  in  a  general 
view  appear  to  me  to  be  just,  but  there  were  two  circumstances 
which  gave  a  peculiarity  to  the  case  in  which  our  law  adopted 
it.  One  was,  that  the  tax  will  fall  much  on  those  who  are  eva 
ding  their  quotas  of  other  taxes  by  removing  to  Georgia  and 
Kentucky;  the  other,  that  as  such  transfers  are  more  frequent 
among  those  who  do  not  remove  in  the  Western  than  the  East 
ern  part  of  the  Country,  it  will  fall  heaviest  where  direct  taxes 
are  least  collected.  With  regard  to  the  tax  in  general  on  law 
proceedings,  it  cannot,  perhaps,  be  justified,  if  tried  by  the  strict 
rule  which  proportions  the  quota  of  every  man  to  his  ability; 
time,  however,  will  gradually  in  some  measure  equalize  it,  and 
if  it  be  applied  to  the  support  of  the  Judiciary  establishment, 
as  was  the  ultimate  view  of  the  periods  of  the  tax,  it  seems  to 
square  very  well  with  the  Theory  of  taxation. 

The  people  of  Kentucky  had  lately  a  Convention,  which  it 
was  expected  would  be  the  mother  of  a  separation.  I  am  in 
formed  they  proceeded  no  farther  than  to  concert  an  address  to 
the  Legislature  on  some  points  in  which  they  think  the  laws 
bear  unequally  upon  them.  They  will  be  ripe  for  that  event,  at 
least  as  soon  as  their  interest  calls  for  it.  There  is  no  danger 
of  a  concert  between  them  and  the  Counties  West  of  the  Al- 
leghany,  which  we  mean  to  retain.  If  the  latter  embark  in 
a  scheme  for  independence,  it  will  be  on  their  own  bottom. 

148  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

They  are  more  disunited  in  every  respect  from  Kentucky  than 
from  Virginia. 

I  have  not  learnt  with  certainty  whether  General  Washing 
ton  will  accept  or  decline  the  shares  voted  him  by  the  Assembly 
in  the  companies  for  opening  our  rivers.  If  he  does  not  chuse 
to  take  to  himself  any  benefit  from  the  donation,  he  has,  I  think, 
a  fine  opportunity  at  once  of  testifying  his  disinterested  pur 
poses,  of  shewing  his  respect  for  the  Assembly,  and  of  render 
ing  a  service  to  his  Country.  He  may  accept  the  gift  so  far  as 
to  apply  it  to  the  scheme  of  opening  the  rivers,  and  may  then 
appropriate  the  revenue  which  it  is  hereafter  to  produce  to  some 
patriotic  establishment.  I  lately  dropped  a  hint  of  this  sort  to 
one  of  his  friends,  and  was  told  that  such  an  idea  had  been  sug 
gested  to  him.  The  private  subscriptions  for  Potowmac,  I  hear, 
amount  to  £1 0,000  Sterling.  I  cannot  discover  that  those  for 
James  River  deserve  mention,  or  that  the  undertaking  is  pushed 
with  any  spirit.  If  those  who  are  most  interested  in  it  let  slip 
the  present  opportunity,  their  folly  will  probably  be  severely 
punished  for  the  want  of  such  another.  It  is  said  the  under 
taking  on  the  Susquehannah  by  Maryland  goes  on  with  great 
spirit  and  expectations.  I  have  heard  nothing  of  Rumsey  or 
his  boats  since  he  went  into  the  Northern  States.  If  his  ma 
chinery  for  stemming  the  current  operates  on  the  water  alone, 
as  is  given  out,  may  it  not  supply  the  great  desideratum  for 
perfecting  the  balloons? 

I  understand  that  Chase  and  Jenifer  on  the  part  of  Maryland, 
Mason  and  Henderson  on  the  part  of  Virginia,  have  had  a  meet 
ing  on  the  proposition  of  Virginia  for  settling  the  navigation 
and  jurisdiction  of  Potowmac  below  the  falls,  and  have  agreed 
to  report  to  the  two  Assemblies  the  establishment  of  a  concur 
rent  jurisdiction  on  that  river  and  Chesapeake.  The  most  am 
icable  spirit  is  said  to  have  governed  the  negociation. 

The  Bill  for  a  general  Assessment  has  produced  some  fer 
mentation  below  the  mountains,  and  a  violent  one  beyond  them. 
The  contest  at  the  next  session  on  this  question  will  be  a  warm 
and  precarious  one.  The  port  bill  will  also  undergo  a  fiery 
trial.  I  wish  the  Assize  Courts  may  not  partake  of  the  dan- 

1785.  LETTERS.  149 

ger.  The  elections,  as  far  as  they  have  come  to  my  knowledge, 
are  likely  to  produce  a  great  proportion  of  new  members.  In 
Albemarle,  young  Mr.  Fry  has  turned  out  Mr.  Carter.  The  late 
Governor  Harrison,  I  hear,  has  been  baffled  in  his  own  county, 
but  meant  to  be  a  Candidate  in  Surry,  and  in  case  of  a  rebuif 
there,  to  throw  another  die  for  the  borough  of  Norfolk.  I  do 
not  know  how  he  construes  the  doctrine  of  residence.  It  is 
surmised  that  the  machinations  of  Tyler,  who  fears  a  rivalship 
for  the  Chair,  are  at  the  bottom  of  his  difficulties.  Arthur  Lee 
is  elected  in  Prince  William.  He  is  said  to  have  paved  the  way 
by  promises  to  overset  the  port  bill,  which  is  obnoxious  to  Dum 
fries,  and  to  prevent  the  removal  of  the  Assize  Court  from  this 
town  to  Alexandria. 

I  received  a  letter  from  the  Marquis  Fayette,  dated  on  the 
eve  of  his  embarcation,  which  has  the  following  paragraph:  "  I 
have  much  conferred  with  the  General  upon  the  Potowmac  sys 
tem.  Many  people  think  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi  is 
not  an  advantage,  but  it  may  be  the  excess  of  a  very  good  thing, 
viz:  the  opening  of  your  rivers.  I  fancy  it  has  not  changed 
your  opinion,  but  beg  you  will  write  me  on  the  subject;  in  the 
meanwhile  I  hope  Congress  will  act  coolly  and  prudently  by 
Spain,  who  is  such  a  fool  that  allowances  must  be  made."  It 
is  unlucky  that  he  should  have  left  America  with  such  an  idea 
as  to  the  Mississippi.  It  may  be  of  the  worst  consequence,  as 
it  is  not  wholly  imaginary,  the  prospect  of  extending  the  Com 
merce  of  the  Atlantic  States  to  the  Western  waters  having 
given  birth  to  it.  I  cannot  believe  that  many  minds  are  tainted 
with  so  illiberal  and  short-sighted  a  policy.  I  have  thought  it 
not  amiss  to  write  the  Marquis  according  to  the  request  of  his 
letter,  and  have  stated  to  him  the  motives  and  obligations  which 
must  render  the  United  States  inflexible  on  the  subject  of  the 
Mississippi,  the  folly  of  Spain  in  contesting  it,  and  our  expec 
tations  from  the  known  influence  of  France  over  Spain,  and  her 
friendly  dispositions  toward  the  United  States.  It  is  but  jus 
tice  to  the  Marquis  to  observe  that,  in  all  our  conversations  on 
the  Mississippi,  he  expressed  with  every  mark  of  sincerity  a  zeal 
for  our  claims  and  a  pointed  dislike  to  the  National  Character 

150  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

and  policy  of  Spain;  and  that  if  his  zeal  should  be  found  to 
abate,  I  should  construe  it  to  be  the  effect  of  a  supposed  revolu 
tion  in  the  sentiments  of  America. 

This  would  have  been  of  somewhat  earlier  date,  but  I 
postponed  it  that  I  might  be  able  to  include  some  information 
relative  to  your  Nephews.  My  last  informed  you  that  your 
eldest  was  then  with  Mr.  Maury.  I  was  so  assured  by  Mr. 
Underwood,  from  his  neighborhood,  who  I  supposed  could  not 
be  mistaken;  I  afterwards  discovered  that  he  was  so,  but  could 
get  no  precise  information  'till  within  a  few  days.  One  of  my 
brothers  being  called  into  that  part  of  country  by  business,  I 
wrote  to  Mrs.  Carr,  and  got  him  to  wait  on  her.  The  answer 
with  which  I  have  been  favored  imports  that  "  her  eldest  son 
was  taken  last  fall  with  a  fever,  which,  with  repeated  relapses, 
kept  him  extremely  weak  and  low  'till  about  the  1st  of  January, 
from  which  time  he  was  detained  at  home  by  delays  in  equip 
ping  him  for  Williamsburg  'till  the  1st  of  April,  when  he  set 
out  with  promises  to  make  up  his  lost  time;  that  her  youngest 
son  had  also  been  detained  at  home  by  ill  health  till  very  lately, 
but  that  he  would  certainly  go  to  the  academy  as  soon  as  a  va 
cation  on  hand  was  over;  that  his  time  had  not  been  entirely 
lost,  as  his  brother  was  capable  of  instructing  him  whenever  his 
health  would  admit."  Mr.  Maury's  school  is  said  to  be  very 
flourishing.  Mr.  Wythe  and  the  other  gentlemen  of  the  Univer 
sity  have  examined  it  from  time  to  time,  and  published  their 
approbation  of  its  management.  I  cannot  speak  with  the  same 
authority  as  to  the  Academy  in  Prince  Edward.  The  informa 
tion  which  I  have  received  has  been  favorable  to  it.  In  the 
recommendation  of  these  seminaries  I  was  much  governed  by 
the  probable  permanency  of  them;  nothing  being  more  ruinous 
to  education  than  the  frequent  interruptions  and  change  of 
masters  and  methods  incident  to  the  private  schools  of  this 

Our  winter  has  been  full  of  vicissitudes,  but,  on  the  whole,  far 
from  being  a  severe  one.  The  spring  has  been  uncommonly  cold 
and  wet,  and  vegetation,  of  course,  very  backward,  till  within  a 
few  days,  during  which  it  has  been  accelerated  by  very  uncom- 

1785.  LETTERS  151 

mon  heat.  A  pocket  thermometer  which  stands  on  the  second 
floor  and  the  N.  W.  side  of  the  house  was,  on  the  24th  inst.,  at 
4  o'clock,  at  77°;  on  the  25th,  at  78;  on  the  26th,  at  81J;  to-day, 
the  27th,  at  82.  The  weather  during  this  period  has  been  fair, 
and  the  wind  S;  the  atmosphere  thick  N.  W.;  our  wheat  in  the 
ground  is  very  unpromising  throughout  the  country.  The  price 
of  that  article  on  tide-water  is  about  6.9.  Corn  sells  in  this  part 
of  the  country  at  10s.  and  under;  below,  at  15s.;  and  where  the 
insect  prevailed,  as  high  as  20s.  It  is  said  to  have  been  raised 
by  a  demand  for  exportation.  Tobacco  is  selling  on  Rappahan- 
nock  at  32s.,  and  Richmond  at  37s.  6c£.  It  is  generally  ex 
pected  that  it  will  at  least  get  up  to  40s.  Some  of  our  peaches 
are  killed,  and  most  of  our  cherries;  our  apples  are  as  yet  safe. 
I  cannot  say  how  it  is  with  the  fruit  in  other  parts  of  the  coun 
try.  The  mischief  to  the  cherries,  &c.,  was  done  on  the  night 
of  the  20th,  when  we  had  a  severe  black  frost. 

I  cannot  take  my  leave  of  you  without  making  my  acknowl 
edgements  for  the  very  friendly  invitation  contained  in  your 
last.  If  I  should  ever  visit  Europe,  I  should  wish  to  do  it  less 
stinted  in  time  than  your  plan  proposes.  This  crisis,  too,  would 
be  particularly  inconvenient,  as  it  would  break  in  upon  a 
course  of  reading  which,  if  I  neglect  now,  I  shall  probably  never 
resume.  I  have  some  reason,  also,  to  suspect  that  crossing  the 
sea  would  be  unfriendly  to  a  singular  disease  of  my  constitu 
tion.  The  other  part  of  your  invitation  has  the  strongest  bias 
of  my  mind  on  its  side,  but  my  situation  is  as  yet  too  dependent 
on  circumstances  to  permit  my  embracing  it  absolutely.  It 
gives  me  great  satisfaction  to  find  that  you  are  looking  forward 
to  the  moment  which  is  to  restore  you  to  your  native  country, 
though  considerations  of  a  public  nature  check  my  wishes  that 
such  an  event  may  be  expedited. 

Present  my  best  respects  to  Mr.  Short  and  Miss  Patsy,  and 
accept  of  the  affectionate  regards  of,  Dear  Sir,  your  sincere 

What  has  become  of  the  subterraneous  city  discovered  in 


152  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

Deaths: — Thompson  Mason,  Bartholomew  Dandridge,  Ryland 
Randolph,  Joseph  Reed  of  Philadela. 


ORANGE,  April  28th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  written  several  letters  within  a  little  time 
past,  which  were  sent  to  you  partly  by  the  post,  partly  by  Mr. 
Burnley,  a  young  gentleman  of  this  county.  In  one  of  the  let 
ters  I  enclosed  a  cypher,  which  will  serve  all  the  purposes  of 
our  future  correspondence.  This  covers  a  letter  from  Mr.  Jef 
ferson,  which  you  will  be  so  good  as  to  forward  by  the  first 
packet  or  other  equally  eligible  conveyance.  Our  elections,  as 
far  as  I  hear,  are  likely  to  produce  a  great  proportion  of  new 
members.  In  some  counties  they  are  influenced  by  the  Bill  for 
a  general  assessment.  In  Culpeper,  Mr.  Pendleton,  a  worthy 
man,  and  acceptable  in  his  general  character  to  the  people,  was 
laid  aside  in  consequence  of  his  vote  for  the  Bill,  in  favor  of  an 
adversary  to  it.  The  delegates  from  Albemarle  are  your  friend 
Mr.  W.  C.  Nicholas  and  Mr.  Fry.  Mr.  Carter  stood  a  poll,  but 
fell  into  the  rear.  The  late  Governor  Harrison,  I  am  told,  has 
been  baffled  in  his  own  County,  meant  to  be  a  candidate  for 
Surry,  and  in  case  of  a  rebuff  there  to  throw  another  die  for 
the  Borough  of  Norfolk.  I  do  not  know  how  he  proposes  to 
satisfy  the  doctrine  of  residence. 

I  hear  frequent  complaints  of  the  disorders  of  our  coin,  and 
the  want  of  uniformity  in  the  denominations  of  the  States.  Do 
not  Congress  think  of  a  remedy  for  these  evils?  The  regula 
tion  of  weights  and  measure  seem  also  to  call  for  their  atten 
tion.  Every  day  will  add  to  the  difficulty  of  executing  these 
works.  If  a  mint  be  not  established  and  a  recoinage  effected 
-while  the  federal  debts  carry  the  money  through  the  hands  of 
Congress,  I  question  much  whether  their  limited  powers  will 
ever  be  able  to  render  this  branch  of  their  prerogative  effectual. 
With  regard  to  the  regulation  of  weights  and  measures,  would 
it  not  be  highly  expedient,  as  well  as  honorable  to  the  federal 

1785.  LETTERS.  153 

administration,  to  pursue  the  hint  which  has  been  suggested  by 
ingenious  and  philosophical  men,  to  wit:  that  the  standard  of 
measure  should  be  first  fixed  by  the  length  of  a  pendulum  vibra 
ting  seconds  at  the  Equator  or  any  given  latitude;  and  that  the 
standard  of  weights  should  be  a  cubical  piece  of  gold,  or  other 
homogeneous  body,  of  dimensions  fixed  by  the  standard  of 
measure?  Such  a  scheme  appears  to  be  easily  reducible  to  prac 
tice;  and  as  it  is  founded  on  the  division  of  time,  which  is  the 
same  at  all  times  and  in  all  places,  and  proceeds  on  other  data 
which  are  equally  so,  it  would  not  only  secure  a  perpetual  uni 
formity  throughout  the  United  States,  but  might  lead  to  univer 
sal  standards  in  these  matters  among  nations.  Next  to  the  in- 
conveniency  of  speaking  different  languages,  is  that  of  using 
different  and  arbitrary  weights  and  measures. 
I  am,  dear  sir,  your  affectionate  friend. 


ORANGE,  May  29th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  May  —  came  to  hand  a  few  days 
ago.  It  is  fortunate  that  the  variant  ideas  have  been  so  easily 
accommodated  touching  the  mode  of  surveying  and  selling  the 
territorial  fund.  It  will  be  equally  so,  I  think,  if  you  can  dis 
possess  the  British  of  the  Western  posts  before  the  land  office 
is  opened.  On  this  event  and  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi 
will  much  depend  the  fiscal  importance  of  the  back  country  to 
the  United  States.  The  amount  of  the  proposed  requisition 
will,  I  fear,  startle  those  to  whom  it  will  be  addressed.  The 
use  of  certificates  as  a  medium  for  discharging  the  interest  of 
the  home  debt  is  a  great  evil,  though  I  suppose  a  necessary 
one.  The  advantage  it  gives  to  Sharpers  and  Collectors  can 
scarcely  be  described,  and  what  is  more  noxious,  it  provokes 
violations  of  public  faith  more  than  the  weight  of  the  Burden 
itself.  The  1,000,000  dollars  to  be  paid  in  specie,  and  the 
greatest  part  of  it  to  be  sent  abroad,  will  equally  try  the  virtue 

154  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

of  the  States.  If  they  do  not  flinch,  however,  they  will  have 
the  satisfaction  of  coming  out  of  the  trial  with  more  honor, 
though  with  less  money. 

I  have  lately  heard  that  the  Kentucky  Delegates  will  be  in 
structed  to  propose  to  the  next  session  the  separation  of  that 
Country  from  this,  and  its  being  handed  over  to  Congress  for 
admission  into  the  Confederacy.  If  they  pursue  their  object 
through  this  channel,  they  will  not  only  accomplish  it  without 
difficulty,  but  set  a  useful  example  to  other  Western  settlements 
which  may  chuse  to  be  lopped  off  from  other  States.  My  in 
formation  as  to  this  matter  is  not  authentic,  but  such  as  I  am 
inclined  to  believe  true.  I  hear,  also,  that  a  State  is  actually 
set  up  in  the  back  country  of  North  Carolina,  that  it  is  organ 
ized,  named,  and  has  deputed  representatives  to  Congress. 

It  gives  me  much  pleasure  to  observe  by  2  printed  reports 
sent  me  by  Col.  Grayson,  that,  in  the  latter,  Congress  had  ex 
punged  a  clause  contained  in  the  first,  for  setting  apart  a  dis 
trict  of  land  in  each  Township  for  supporting  the  Religion  of 
the  majority  of  inhabitants.  How  a  regulation  so  unjust  in 
itself,  so  foreign  to  the  authority  of  Congress,  so  hurtful  to  the 
sale  of  the  public  land,  and  smelling  so  strongly  of  an  anti 
quated  Bigotry,  could  have  received  the  countenance  of  a  Com 
mittee,  is  truly  matter  of  astonishment.  In  one  view  it  might 
have  been  no  disadvantage  to  this  State,  in  case  the  General 
Assessment  should  take  place,  as  it  would  have  given  a  repel 
lent  quality  to  the  new  Country  in  the  estimation  of  those  whom 
our  own  encroachments  on  Religious  liberty  would  be  calcu 
lated  to  banish  to  it.  But  the  adversaries  to  the  assessment 
begin  to  think  the  prospect  here  flattering  to  their  wishes.  The 
printed  bill  has  excited  great  discussion,  and  is  likely  to  prove 
the  sense  of  the  community  to  be  in  favor  of  the  liberty  now 
enjoyed.  I  have  heard  of  several  Counties  where  the  late  rep 
resentatives  have  been  laid  aside  for  voting  for  the  Bill,  and 
not  of  a  single  one  where  the  reverse  has  happened.  The  Pres 
byterian  Clergy,  too,  who  were  in  general  friends  to  the  scheme, 
are  already  in  another  tone,  either  compelled  by  the  laity  of 
that  sect,  or  alarmed  at  the  probability  of  further  interferences 

1785.  LETTERS.  155 

of  the  Legislature  if  they  once  begin  to  dictate  in  matters  of 

I  am,  dear  sir,  your's  affectionately. 


ORANGE,  21  June,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — Finding  from  a  letter  of  Mr.  Mazzei  that  you 
have  never  been  furnished  with  a  copy  of  the  Bill  for  establish 
ing  the  Christian  Religion  in  this  State,  I  now  inclose  one, 
regretting  that  I  had  taken  it  for  granted  that  you  must  have 
been  supplied  through  some  other  channel.  A  very  warm  op 
position  will  be  made  to  this  innovation  by  the  people  of  the 
middle  and  back  Counties,  particularly  the  latter.  They  do 
not  scruple  to  declare  it  an  alarming  usurpation  on  their  fun 
damental  rights,  and  that  though  the  General  Assembly  should 
give  it  the  form,  they  will  not  give  it  the  validity  of  a  law.  If 
there  be  any  limitation  to  the  power  of  the  Legislature,  partic 
ularly  if  this  limitation  is  to  be  sought  in  our  Declaration  of 
Rights  or  form  of  Government.  I  own  the  Bill  appears  to  me  to 
warrant  this  language  of  the  people. 

A  gentleman  of  credit  lately  from  Kentucky  tells  me  that  he 
fell  in  with  two  persons  on  the  Ohio,  who  were  going  down  the 
River  in  the  character  of  Commissioners  from  Georgia,  author 
ized  to  demand  from  the  Spanish  Governor  of  New  Orleans  the 
posts  within  the  limits  of  that  State,  and  a  settlement  of  the 
boundary  in  general  between  it  and  the  Spanish  possessions. 
The  Gentleman  did  not  see  their  Commission,  but  entertains  no 
doubt  of  their  having  one.  He  was  informed  that  two  others 
were  joined  in  it,  who  had  taken  a  different  route.  Should 
there  be  no  mistake  in  this  case,  you  will  no  doubt  be  able  to 
get  a  full  account  of  the  Embassy.  I  would  willingly  suppose 
that  no  State  could  be  guilty  either  of  so  flagrant  an  outrage 
on  the  federal  Constitution,  or  of  so  imprudent  a  mode  of  pur- 
puing  their  claims  against  a  foreign  nation. 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

I  observe  in  a  late  Newspaper  that  the  commercial  discon 
tents  of  Boston  are  spreading  to  New  York  and  Philadelphia. 
Whether  they  will  reach  Virginia  or  not,  I  am  unable  to  say. 
If  they  should,  they  must  proceed  from  a  different  interest;  from 
that  of  the  planters,  not  that  of  the  Merchants.  The  present 
system  here  is  as  favorable  to  the  latter  as  it  is  ruinous  to  the 
former.  Our  trade  was  never  more  compleatly  monopolized  by 
Great  Britain,  when  it  was  under  the  direction  of  the  British 
Parliament,  than  it  is  at  this  moment.  But  as  our  Merchants 
are  almost  all  connected  with  that  Country,  and  that  only,  and 
as  we  have  neither  ships  rior  seamen  of  our  own,  nor  likely  to 
have  any  in  the  present  course  of  things,  no  mercantile  com 
plaints  are  heard.  The  planters  are  dissatisfied,  and  with  rea 
son;  but  they  enter  little  into  the  science  of  commerce,  and 
rarely  of  themselves  combine  in  defence  of  their  interests.  If 
any  thing  could  rouse  them  to  a  proper  view  of  their  situation, 
one  might  expect  it  from  the  contrast  of  the  market  here  with 
that  of  other  States.  Our  staple  has  of  late  been  as  low  as  a 
guinea  per  hundred  on  Rappahannock,  and  not  above  32  or  33 
Shillings  on  James  River.  The  current  prices  in  Philadelphia 
during  the  same  period  have  been  44  shillings  of  this  currency 
for  tobacco  of  the  latter  inspections,  and  in  like  proportion  for 
that  of  the  former. 

The  prices  of  imports  of  every  kind  in  those  two  markets 
furnish  a  contrast  equally  mortifying  to  us.  I  have  not  had  the 
same  information  from  other  States  northward  of  us,  but  I  have 
little  doubt  that  it  would  teach  us  the  same  lesson.  Our  planters 
cannot  suffer  a  loss  of  less  than  fifty  per  cent,  on  the  staple  of 
the  country,  if  to  the  direct  loss  in  the  price  of  the  staple  be 
added  their  indirect  loss  in  the  price  of  what  they  purchase 
with  their  staple.  It  is  difficult,  notwithstanding,  to  make  them 
sensible  of  the  utility  of  establishing  a  Philadelphia  or*  a  Bal 
timore  among  ourselves,  as  one  indispensable  step  towards  re 
lief;  and  the  difficulty  is  not  a  little  increased  by  the  pains 
taken  by  the  merchants  to  prevent  such  a  reformation,  and  by 

*  By  concentrating  our  commerce  at  Alexandria  and  Norfolk,  the  objoct  of 
the  port  Bill. 

178:..  LETTERS.  157 

the  opposition  arising  from  local  views.  I  have  been  told  that 
Arthur  Lee  paved  the  way  to  his  election  in  Prince  William  by 
promising  that,  among  other  things,  he  would  overset  the  Port 
bill.  Mr.  Jefferson  writes  me  that  the  Port  Bill  has  been  pub 
lished  in  all  the  Gazettes  in  Europe,  with  the  highest  approba 
tion  every  where  except  in  Great  Britain.  It  would  indeed  be 
as  surprising  if  she  should  be  in  favor  of  it,  as  it  is  that  any 
among  ourselves  should  be  against  it.  I  see  no  possibility  of 
engaging  other  nations  in  a  rivalship  with  her  without  some 
such  regulation  of  our  commerce. 

TO   R.    H.   LEE. 

ORANGE,  July  7th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favonr  of  the  30th  of  May  came  to  hand 
yesterday  only,  having  lain  some  time  in  Fredericksburg,  and 
finally  came  to  Orange,  via  Albemarle. 

I  agree  perfectly  with  you  in  thinking  it  the  interest  of  this 
country  to  embrace  the  first  decent  opportunity  of  parting  with 
Kentucky,  and  to  refuse  with  firmness  to  part  with  any  more 
of  our  settlements  beyond  the  Alleghany.  It  seems  necessary, 
however,  that  this  first  instance  of  a  voluntary  dismemberment 
of  a  State  should  be  conducted  in  such  a  manner  as  to  form  a 
salutary  precedent.  As  it  is  an  event  which  will  indirectly 
affect  the  whole  Confederacy,  Congress  ought  clearly  to  be 
made  a  party  to  it,  either  immediately,  or  by  a  proviso  that  the 
partition  act  shall  not  take  effect  till  the  actual  admission  of 
the  new  State  into  the  Union.  No  interval  whatever  should  be 
suffered  between  the  release  of  our  hold  on  that  Country  and 
its  taking  on  itself  the  obligations  of  a  member  of  the  federal 
body.  Should  it  be  made  a  separate  State  without  this  precau 
tion,  it  might  possibly  be  tempted  to  remain  so,  as  well  with 
regard  to  the  U.  S.  as  to  Virginia,  by  two  considerations:  1. 
The  evasion  of  its  share  of  the  general  debt.  2.  The  allure 
ment  which  an  exemption  from  taxes  would  prove  to  the  citizens 
of  States  groaning  under  them.  It  is  very  possible  that  such  a 

158  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

policy  might  in  the  end  prove  a  disadvantageous  one,  but  the 
charms  of  ambition,  and,  at  present,  interest,  too,  often  prevail 
against  the  cool  remonstrances  of  true  policy.  May  we  not, 
also,  with  justice,  require  that  a  reasonable  portion  of  the  par 
ticular  debt  of  Virginia  should  be  assumed  by  that  part  of  Vir 
ginia  which  is  to  set  up  for  itself? 

The  arrival  of  Mr.  Gardoqui  will  turn  out,  I  hope,  an  auspi 
cious  step  towards  conciliating  explanations  and  overtures  with 
regard  to  the  Mississippi.  Besides  the  general  motives  for  ex 
pediting  an  adjustment  of  this  matter,  the  prodigious  effect  of 
it  on  the  sale  of  the  back  lands  makes  it  of  peculiar  importance. 
The  same  consideration  presses  for  such  arrangements  with  G. 
B.  as  will  give  us  speedy  possession  of  the  Western  posts.  As 
to  the  commercial  arrangements  which  we  wish  from  her,  I  own 
my  expectations  are  far  from  being  sanguine.  In  fact,  what 
could  she  get  from  us  by  concessions,  which  she  is  unwilling  to 
make,  which  she  does  not  now  enjoy? 

I  cannot  speak  with  certainty  as  to  all  the  States,  but  sure  I 
am  that  the  trade  of  this  was  never  more  completely  monopo 
lized  by  her  when  it  was  under  the  direction  of  her  own  laws 
than  it  is  at  this  moment.  Our  present  situation,  therefore, 
precisely  verifies  the  doctrine  held  out  in  Deane's  intercepted 
letters.  The  revolution  has  robbed  us  of  our  trade  with  the 
West  Indies,  the  only  one  which  yielded  us  a  favorable  balance, 
without  opening  any  other  channels  to  compensate  for  it.  What 
makes  the  British  monopoly  the  more  mortifying,  is  the  abuse 
which  they  make  of  it.  Not  only  the  private  planters,  who 
have  resumed  the  practice  of  shipping  their  own  Tobacco,  but 
many  of  the  merchants,  particularly  the  natives  of  the  country, 
who  have  no  connections  with  G.  B.,  have  received  accts  of  sales 
this  season,  which  carry  the  most  visible  and  shameful  frauds 
in  every  article. 

In  every  point  of  view,  indeed,  the  trade  of  this  country  is  in 
a  deplorable  condition.  A  comparison  of  current  prices  here 
with  those  in  the  Northern  States,  either  at  this  time  or  at  any 
time  since  the  peace,  will  shew  that  the  loss  direct  on  our  pro 
duce,  and  indirect  on  our  imports,  is  not  less  than  fifty  per  cent. 

1785.  LETTERS.  159 

Till  very  lately  the  price  of  our  staple  has  been  down  at  32  and 
33s  3n  James  River;  at  28s.  on  Rappahannock.  During  the 
same  period,  the  former  was  selling  in  Philadelphia,  and  I  sup 
pose  in  other  Northern  ports,  at  44s.  of  this  currency,  and  the 
latter  in  proportion;  though  it  cannot  be  denied  that  Tobacco 
in  the  Northern  ports  is  intrinsically  worth  less  than  it  is  here, 
being  at  the  same  distance  from  its  ultimate  market,  and  bur 
dened  with  the  freight  from  this  to  the  other  States.  The  price 
of  merchandize  here  is  at  least  as  much  above  as  that  of  To 
bacco  is  below  the  Northern  standard.  * 

We  have  had  throughout  the  month  of  June,  and  until  this 
time,  very  hot  and  very  wet  weather.  The  effect  of  it  on  upland 
corn  has  been  favorable,  but  much  the  reverse  on  that  of  the 
flats.  It  has  given  full  opportunity  to  the  planters  to  pitch 
their  crops  of  Tobacco,  but  though  many  of  them  have  repeated 
this  operation  several  times,  the  grasshoppers  and  other  noxious 
insects  have  been  so  uncommonly  troublesome  that  in  many 
places  the  prospect  is  likely  to  be  much  abridged.  Should  this 
not  be  the  case,  the  efforts  of  the  country  must  produce  the 
greatest  crop  that  has  been  seen  since  the  peace.  Our  Wheat 
in  this  part  of  the  country  is  very  indifferent.  How  it  may  be 
in  others  I  cannot  say,  but  believe  the  complaints  are  pretty 

With  the  highest  esteem  and  regard,  Dear  Sir,  your  obt  and 
very  humble  serv. 


ORANGE,  July  26th,  1785. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, — Your  favour  of  the  17th  inst.,  inclosing  a 
letter  from  Mr.  Jones  and  a  copy  of  the  ecclesiastical  Journal, 
came  safe  to  hand.  If  I  do  not  dislike  the  contents  of  the  lat 
ter,  it  is  because  they  furnish,  as  I  conceive,  fresh  and  forcible 
arguments  against  the  General  Assessment.  It  may  be  of  little 
consequence  what  tribunal  is  to  judge  of  clerical  misdemeanors 

160  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

o~  \ow  firmly  the  incumbent  may  be  fastened  on  the  parish, 
whilst  the  vestry  and  people  may  hear  and  pay  him  or  not,  as 
they  like.  But  should  a  legal  salary  be  annexed  to  the  title, 
this  phantom  of  power  would  be  substantiated  into  a  real  mon 
ster  of  oppression.  Indeed,  it  appears  to  be  so  at  present  as 
far  as  the  Glebes  and  donations  extend.  I  had  seen  some  par 
cels  of  these  proceedings  before  I  received  your  letter,  and  had 
remarked  the  sprinklings  of  liberality  to  which  you  allude. 
My  conjectures,  I  believe,  did  not  err  as  to  the  quarter  from 
which  -they  came. 

The  urgency  of  General  Washington  in  the  late  negociation 
with  Maryland  makes  it  probable,  I  think,  that  he  will  feel 
some  chagrin  at  the  inattention  to  that  with  Pennsylvania, 
which  has  a  much  nearer  connection  with  his  favorite  object, 
and  was,  moreover,  suggested  by  himself.  Shortly  after  the 
date  of  my  last  I  dropped  a  few  lines  to  Col.  Mason,  reminding 
him  that  some  report  will  be  expected  from  the  Commissioners 
by  the  Assembly,  as  well  as  of  the  real  importance  of  the  busi 
ness.  I  have  not  yet  received  any  answer,  and  begin  to  sus 
pect  that  my  letter  may  have  miscarried.  Your  information 
leads  me  to  doubt  whether  he  has  ever  been  furnished  with  a 
copy  of  the  Resolution  under  which  he  is  to  proceed.  I  will 
write  to  him  again,  and  inclose  one  which  Mr.  Jones  sent  me. 

I  have  a  letter  from  the  Marquis,  but  dated  as  far  back  as 
March.  It  was  accompanied  with  a  Copy  of  a  French  memo 
rial  to  the  Emperor,  which  seems  to  have  stifled  the  War  in  its 
birth;  and  an  Extract  from  a  late  work  of  Mr.  Neckar,  which 
has  made  him  the  idol  of  one  party  in  France  and  the  execra 
tion  of  the  other.  To  avoid  the  trouble  of  transcribing,  I  send 
them  as  they  came  to  me.  You  can  peruse  and  return  them  by 
my  brother,  who  is  the  bearer  of  this,  or  by  any  future  oppor 
tunity.  The  Marquis  says  he  is  doing  all  he  can  to  forward  our 
claim  to  the  Mississippi;  that  the  French  Ministry  understand 
the  matter  and  are  well  disposed;  but  that  they  are  apprehen 
sive  "  Spain  knows  not  how  to  give  up  what  she  once  has." 

I  had  heard  of  the  strictures  on  the  incorporating  Act,  but 
without  being  able  to  pick  up  any  of  the  papers  in  which  they 

1785.  LETTERS.  161 

are  published.  I  have  desired  my  brother  to  search  them  out 
if  he  can.  Perhaps  you  can  refer  him  to  the  proper  press  and 

At  the  instance  of  Col.  Nicholas,  of  Albemarle,  I  undertook 
the  draught  of  the  inclosed  remonstrance  against  the  General 
Assessment.  Subscriptions  to  it  are  on  foot,  I  believe,  in  sun 
dry  Counties,  and  will  be  extended  to  others.  My  choice  is, 
that  my  name  may  not  be  associated  with  it.  I  am  not  sure 
that  I  know  precisely  your  ideas  on  this  subject;  but  were  they 
more  variant  from  mine  than  I  take  them  to  be,  I  should  not  be 
restrained  from  a  confidential  communication. 

I  keep  up  my  attention,  as  far  as  I  can  command  my  time,  to 
the  course  of  reading  which  I  have  of  late  pursued,  and  shall 
continue  to  do  so.  I  am,  however,  far  from  being  determined 
ever  to  make  a  professional  use  of  it.  My  wish  is,  if  possible, 
to  provide  a  decent  and  independent  subsistence,  without  en 
countering  the  difficulties  which  I  foresee  in  that  line.  Another 
of  my  wishes  is  to  depend  as  little  as  possible  on  the  labour  of 
slaves.  The  difficulty  of  reconciling  these  views  has  brought 
into  my  thoughts,  several  projects  from  which  advantage  seemed 
attainable.  I  have,  in  concert  with  a  friend  here,  one  at  pres 
ent  on  the  anvil,  which  we  think  cannot  fail  to  yield  a  decent 
reward  for  our  trouble.  Should  we  persist  in  it,  it  will  cost 
me  a  ride  to  Philadelphia,  after  which  it  will  go  on  without  my 
being  ostensibly  concerned.  I  forbear  to  particularize  till  I 
can  do  it  ore  tenus.  Should  I  take  this  ride  I  may  possibly  con 
tinue  it  into  the  Eastern  States;  Col.  Monroe  having  given  me 
an  invitation  to  take  a  ramble  of  curiosity  this  fall,  which  I 
have  half  a  mind  to  accept,  and  among  outher  routes  named 
this.  I  recollect  that  you  talked  yourself  of  a  trip  last  spring 
as  far  as  Lancaster.  Have  you  laid  it  aside  totally?  Or  will 
your  domestic  endearments  forbid  even  the  trip  to  Bath,  from 
which  I  promised  myself  the  happiness  of  taking  you  by  the 
hand  in  Orange?  Give  my  warmest  respects  to  Mrs.  Randolph, 
and  be  assured  that  I  remain,  with  sincere  affection,  your 

VOL.  i.  11 

1G2  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1783. 

Was  the  Royal  assent  ever  given  to  the  act  of  1769,  entitled 
"  an  act  to  amend  an  act  entitled,  an  act  declaring  the  law  con 
cerning  Executions  and  for  relief  of  insolvent  debtors." 

To  the  Honorable  the  General  Assembly  of  the  Commonwealth  of 

Virginia : 

We,  the  subscribers,  citizens  of  the  said  Commonwealth,  hav 
ing  taken  into  serious  consideration  a  Bill  printed  by  order  of 
the  last  session  of  General  Assembly,  entitled  "A  Bill  establish 
ing  a  provision  for  Teachers  of  the  Christian  Religion,"  and 
conceiving  that  the  same,  if  finally  armed  with  the  sanctions  of 
a  law,  will  be  a  dangerous  abuse  of  power,  are  bound  as  faithful 
members  of  a  free  State  to  remonstrate  against  it,  and  to  de 
clare  the  reasons  by  which  we  are  determined.  We  remonstrate 
against  the  said  Bill — 

1.  Because  we  hold  it  for  a  fundamental  and  undeniable 
truth,  "  that  Religion,  or  the  duty  which  we  owe  to  our  Creator, 
and  the  manner  of  discharging  it,  can  be  directed  only  by  rea 
son  and  conviction,  not  by  force  or  violence."*  The  Religion, 
then,  of  every  man  must  be  left  to  the  conviction  and  conscience 
of  every  man;  and  it  is  the  right  of  every  man  to  exercise  it,  as 
these  may  dictate.  This  right  is  in  its  nature  an  unalienable 
right.  It  is  unalienable,  because  the  opinions  of  men,  depend 
ing  only  on  the  evidence  contemplated  by  their  own  minds, 
cannot  follow  the  dictates  of  other  men.  It  is  unalienable,  also, 
because  what  is  here  a  right  towards  men  is  a  duty  towards  the 
Creator.  It  is  the  duty  of  every  man  to  render  to  the  Creator 
such  homage,  and  such  only,  as  he  believes  to  be  acceptable  to 
him.  This  duty  is  precedent,  both  in  order  of  time  and  in  de 
gree  of  obligation,  to  the  claims  of  Civil  society.  Before  any 
man  can  be  considered  as  a  member  of  Civil  Society,  he  must 
be  considered  as  a  subject  of  the  Governor  of  the  Universe; 
and  if  a  member  of  Civil  Society  who  enters  into  any  subordi- 

*  Declaration  Rights,  Article  16. 

1785>  MEMORIAL,    ETC. 

nate  Association  must  always  do  it  with  a  reservation  of  his 
duty  to  the  General  Authority,  much  more  must  every  man  who 
becomes  a  member  of  any  particular  Civil  Society  do  it  with  a 
saving  of  his  allegiance  to  the  Universal  Sovereign,  We  main 
tain,  therefore,  that  in  matters  of  Religion  no  man's  right  is 
abridged  by  the  institution  of  Civil  Society,  and  that  Religion 
is  wholly  exempt  from  its  cognizance.  True  it  is,  that  no  other 
rule  exists  by  which  any  question  which  may  divide  a  Society 
can  be  ultimately  determined  than  the  will  of  the  majority;  but 
it  is  also  true  that  the  majority  may  trespass  on  the  rights  of 
the  minority. 

2.  Because,  if  Religion  be  exempt  from  the  authority  of  the 
Society  at  large,  still  less  can  it  be  subject  to  that  of  the  Legis 
lative  Body.     The  latter  are  but  the  creatures  and  vicegerents 
of  the  former.     Their  jurisdiction  is  both  derivative  and  lim 
ited.     It  is  limited  with  regard  to  the  co-ordinate  departments; 
more  necessarily  is  it  limited  with  regard  to  the  constituents. 
The  preservation  of  a  free  Government  requires,  not  merely 
that  the  metes  and  bounds  which  separate  each  department  of 
power   be  invariably   maintained,   but  more   especially    that 
neither  of  them  be  suffered  to  overleap  the  great  Barrier  which 
defends  the  rights  of  the  people.     The  rulers  who  are  guilty  of 
such  an  encroachment  exceed  the  commission  from  which  they 
derive  their  authority,  and  are  Tyrants.     The  people  who  sub 
mit  to  it  are  governed  by  laws  made  neither  by  themselves  nor 
by  an  authority  derived  from  them,  and  are  slaves. 

3.  Because  it  is  proper  to  take  alarm  at  the  first  experiment 
on  our  liberties.     We  hold  this  prudent  jealousy  to  be  the  first 
duty  of  citizens,  and  one  of  the  noblest  characteristics  of  the 
late  Revolution.     The  freemen  of  America  did  not  wait  till 
usurped  power  had  strengthened  itself  by  exercise,  and  entan 
gled  the  question  in  precedents.  They  saw  all  the  consequences 
in  the  principle,  and  they  avoided  the  consequences  by  denying 
the  principle.     We  revere  this  lesson  too  much  soon  to  forget 
it.     Who  does  not  see  that  the  same  authority  which  can  estab 
lish  Christianity,  in  exclusion  of  all  other  Religions,  may  estab 
lish,  with  the  same  ease,  any  particular  sect  of  Christians,  in 



exclusion  of  all  other  sects?  that  the  same  authority  which  can 
force  a  citizen  to  contribute  three  pence  only  of  his  property 
for  the  support  of  any  one  establishment,  may  force  him  to  con 
form  to  any  other  establishment  in  all  cases  whatsoever? 

4.  Because  the  Bill  violates  that  equality  which  ought  to  be 
the  basis  of  every  law,  and  which  is  more  indispensable  in  pro 
portion  as  the  validity  or  expediency  of  any  law  is  more  liable 
to  be  impeached.     "If  all  men  are  by  nature  equally  free  and 
independent,"*  all  men  are  to  be  considered  as  entering  into 
Society  on  equal  conditions;    as  relinquishing   no  more,  and 
therefore  retaining  no  less,  one  than  another,  of  their  natural 
rights.     Above  all,  are  they  to  be  considered  as  retaining  an 
"equal  title  to  the  free  exercise  of  Religion  according  to  the 
dictates  of  conscience.  "f  Whilst  we  assert  for  ourselves  a  free 
dom  to  embrace,  to  profess,  and  to  observe,  the  Religion  which 
we  believe  to  be  of  divine  origin,  we  cannot  deny  an  equal  free 
dom  to  them  whose  minds  have  not  yet  yielded  to  the  evidence 
which  has  convinced  us.     If  this  freedom  be  abused,  it  is  an 
offence  against  God,  not  against  man.     To  God,  therefore,  not 
to  man,  must  an  account  of  it  be  rendered.   As  the  bill  violates 
equality  by  subjecting  some  to  peculiar  burdens,  so  it  violates 
the  same  principle  by  granting  to  others  peculiar  exemptions. 
Are  the  Quakers  and  Menonists  the  only  Sects  who  think  a  com 
pulsive  support  of  their  Religions  unnecessary  and  unwarrant 
able?     Can  their  piety  alone  be  entrusted  with  the  care  of 
public  worship  ?     Ought  their  Religions  to  be  endowed  above 
all  others  with  extraordinary  privileges,  by  which  proselytes 
may  be  enticed  from  all  others?     We  think  too  favourably  of 
the  justice  and  good  sense  of  these  denominations  to  believe 
that  they  either  covet  pre-eminences  over  their  fellow-citizens, 
or  that  they  will  be  seduced  by  them  from  the  common  opposi 
tion  to  the  measure. 

5.  Because  the  Bill  implies,  either  that  the  civil  Magistrate 
is  a  competent  Judge  of  Religious  truths,  or  that  he  may  em 
ploy  Religion  as  an  engine  of  civil  policy.  The  first  is  an  arro- 

*  Declaration  Rights,  article  1.  f  Article  16. 

MEMORIAL,    ETC.  165 


gant  pretension,  falsified  by  the  contradictory  opinions  of  Rulers 
in  all  ages,  and  throughout  the  world;  the  second,  an  unhal 
lowed  perversion  of  the  means  of  salvation. 

6.  Because  the  establishment  proposed  by  the  Bill  is  not 
requisite  for  the  support  of  the  Christian  Religion.     To  say 
that  it  is,  is  a  contradiction  to  the  Christian  Religion  itself,  for 
every  page  of  it  disavows  a  dependence  on  the  powers  of  this 
world.     It  is  a  contradiction  to  fact,  for  it  is  known  that  this 
Religion  both  existed  and  flourished,  not  only  without  the  sup 
port  of  human  laws,  but  in  spite  of  every  opposition  from  them; 
and  not  only  during  the  period  of  miraculous  aid,  but  long  after 
it  had  been  left  to  its  own  evidence  and  the  ordinary  care  of 
providence.    Nay,  it  is  a  contradiction  in  terms;  for  a  Religion 
not  invented  by  human  policy  must  have  pre-existed  and  been 
supported  before  it  was  established  by  human  policy.     It  is, 
moreover,  to  weaken  in  those  who  profess  this  Religion  a  pious 
confidence  in  its  innate  excellence  and  the  patronage  of  its 
Author;  and  to  foster  in  those  who  still  reject  it  a  suspicion 
that  its  friends  are  too  conscious  of  its  fallacies  to  trust  it  to  its 
own  merits. 

7.  Because  experience  witnesseth  that  ecclesiastical  estab 
lishments,  instead  of  maintaining  the  purity  and  efficacy  of  Re 
ligion,  have  had  a  contrary  operation.     During  almost  fifteen 
Centuries  has  the  legal  establishment  of  Christianity  been  on 
trial.     What  have  been  its  fruits?     More  or  less,  in  all  places, 
pride  and  indolence  in  the  Clergy;  ignorance  and  servility  in 
the  laity;  in  both,  superstition,  bigotry,  and  persecution.     En 
quire  of  the  Teachers  of  Christianity  for  the  ages  in  which  it 
appeared  in  its  greatest  lustre;  those  of  every  Sect  point  to  the 
ages  prior  to  its  incorporation  with  civil  policy.     Propose  a 
restoration  of  this  primitive  state,  in  which  its  Teachers  de 
pended  on  the  voluntary  rewards  of  their  flocks;  many  of  them 
predict  its  downfall.     On  which  side  ought  their  testimony  to 
have  greatest  weight;  when  for  or  when  against  their  interest? 

8.  Because  the  establishment  in  question  is  not  necessary  for 
the  support  of  Civil  Government.     If  it  be  urged  as  necessary 
for  the  support  of  Civil  Government  only  as  it  is  a  means  of 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785> 

supporting  Religion,  and  it  be  not  necessary  for  the  latter  pur 
pose,  it  cannot  be  necessary  for  the  former.  If  Religion  be  not 
within  the  cognizance  of  Civil  Government,  how  can  its  legal 
establishment  be  necessary  to  Civil  Government?  What  in 
fluence,  in  fact,  have  ecclesiastical  establishments  had  on  Civil 
Society?  In  some  instances  they  have  been  seen  to  erect  a 
spiritual  tyranny  on  the  ruins  of  the  civil  authority;  in  many 
instances  they  have  been  seen  upholding  the  thrones  of  political 
tyranny;  in  no  instance  have  they  been  seen  the  guardians  of 
the  liberties  of  the  people.  Rulers  who  wished  to  subvert  the 
public  liberty  may  have  found  an  established  Clergy  convenient 
auxiliaries.  A  just  Government,  instituted  to  secure  and  per 
petuate  it,  needs  them  not.  Such  a  Government  will  be  best 
supported  by  protecting  every  citizen  in  the  enjoyment  of  his 
Religion  with  the  same  equal  hand  which  protects  his  person 
and  his  property ;  by  neither  invading  the  equal  rights  of  any 
Sect,  nor  suffering  any  sect  to  invade  those  of  another. 

Because  the  proposed  establishment  is  a  departure  from  that 
generous  policy  which,  offering  an  Asylum  to  the  persecuted 
and  oppressed  of  every  Nation  and  Religion,  promised  a  lustre 
to  our  country,  and  an  accession  to  the  number  of  its  citizens. 
What  a  melancholy  mark  is  the  Bill  of  sudden  degeneracy! 
Instead  of  holding  forth  an  Asylum  to  the  persecuted,  it  is  it 
self  a  signal  of  persecution.  It  degrades  from  the  equal  rank 
of  Citizens  all  those  whose  opinions  in  Religion  do  not  bend  to 
those  of  the  Legislative  authority.  Distant  as  it  may  be  in  its 
present  form  from  the  Inquisition,  it  differs  from  it  only  in  de 
gree.  The  one  is  the  first  step,  the  other  the  last,  in  the  career 
of  intolerance.  The  magnanimous  sufferer  under  this  cruel 
scourge  in  foreign  Regions  must  view  the  Bill  as  a  Beacon  on 
our  Coast  warning  him  to  seek  some  other  haven,  where  lib 
erty  and  philanthropy,  in  their  due  extent,  may  offer  a  more 
certain  repose  from  his  troubles. 

Because  it  will  have  a  like  tendency  to  banish  our  citizens. 
The  allurements  presented  by  other  situations  are  every  day 
thinning  their  number.  To  superadd  a  fresh  motive  to  emigra 
tion  by  revoking  the  liberty  which  they  now  enjoy  would  be 


MEMORIAL,    ETC.  167 

the  same  species  of  folly  which  has  dishonoured  and  depopulated 
flourishing  kingdoms. 

Because  it  will  destroy  that  moderation  and  harmony  which 
the  forbearance  of  our  laws  to  intermeddle  with  Religion  has 
produced  among  its  several  Sects.  Torrents  of  blood  have  been 
spilt  in  the  old  world  in  consequence  of  vain  attempts  of  the 
secular  arm  to  extinguish  Religious  discord  by  proscribing  all 
differences  in  Religious  opinion.  Time  has  at  length  revealed 
the  true  remedy.  Every  relaxation  of  narrow  and  rigorous 
policy,  wherever  it  has  been  tried,  has  been  found  to  assuage 
the  disease.  The  American  theatre  has  exhibited  proofs  that 
equal  and  complete  liberty,  if  it  does  not  wholly  eradicate  it, 
sufficiently  destroys  its  malignant  influence  on  the  health  and 
prosperity  of  the  State.  If,  with  the  salutary  effects  of  this 
system  under  our  own  eyes,  we  begin  to  contract  the  bounds  of 
Religious  freedom,  we  know  no  name  which  will  too  severely 
reproach  our  folly.  At  least,  let  warning  be  taken  at  the  first 
fruits  of  the  threatened  innovation.  The  very  appearance  of 
the  Bill  has  transformed  "that  Christian  forbearance,  love,  and 
charity/'*  which  of  late  mutually  prevailed,  into  animosities 
and  jealousies,  which  may  not  soon  be  appeased.  What  mis 
chiefs  may  not  be  dreaded,  should  this  enemy  to  the  public  quiet 
be  armed  with  the  force  of  a  law? 

Because  the  policy  of  the  Bill  is  adverse  to  the  diffusion  of 
the  light  of  Christianity.  The  first  wish  of  those  who  enjoy 
this  precious  gift  ought  to  be,  that  it  may  be  imparted  to  the 
whole  race  of  mankind.  Compare  the  number  of  those  who 
have  as  yet  received  it  with  the  number  still  remaining  under 
the  dominion  of  false  Religions,  and  how  small  is  the  former! 
Does  the  policy  of  the  Bill  tend  to  lessen  the  disproportion  ? 
No;  it  at  once  discourages  those  who  are  strangers  to  the  light 
of  revelation  from  coming  into  the  Region  of  it,  and  counte 
nances  by  example  the  nations  who  continue  in  darkness  in 
shutting  out  those  who  might  convey  it  to  them.  Instead  of 
levelling,  as  far  as  possible,  every  obstacle  to  the  victorious 

*  Declaration  Rights,  Article  16. 

1(58  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

progress  of  truth,  the  Bill,  with  an  ignoble  and  unchristian  ti 
midity,  would  circumscribe  it  with  a  wall  of  defence  against  the 
encroachments  of  error. 

Because  attempts  to  enforce,  by  legal  sanctions,  acts  obnox 
ious  to  so  great  a  proportion  of  citizens,  tend  to  enervate  the 
laws  in  general,  and  to  slacken  the  bands  of  Society.  If  it  be 
difficult  to  execute  any  law  which  is  not  generally  deemed  neces 
sary  or  salutary,  what  must  be  the  case  where  it  is  deemed  in 
valid  and  dangerous?  And  what  may  be  the  effect  of  so  striking 
an  example  of  impotency  in  the  Government  on  its  general  au 

Because  a  measure  of  such  singular  magnitude  and  delicacy 
ought  not  to  be  imposed  without  the  clearest  evidence  that  it  is 
called  for  by  a  majority  of  citizens;  and  nt)  satisfactory  method 
is  yet  proposed  by  which  the  voice  of  the  majority  in  this  case 
may  be  determined,  or  its  influence  secured.  "The  people  of 
the  respective  Counties  are,  indeed,  requested  to  signify  their 
opinion  respecting  the  adoption  of  the  Bill  to  the  next  Session 
of  the  Assembly."  But  the  representation  must  be  made  equal 
before  the  voice  either  of  the  Representatives  or  of  the  Counties 
will  be  that  of  the  people.  Our  hope  is,  that  neither  of  the  for 
mer  will,  after  due  consideration,  espouse  the  dangerous  prin 
ciple  of  the  Bill.  Should  the  event  disappoint  us,  it  will  still 
leave  us  in  full  confidence  that  a  fair  appeal  to  the  latter  will 
reverse  the  sentence  against  our  liberties. 

Because,  finally,  "the  equal  right  of  every  Citizen  to  the  free 
exercise  of  his  Religion,  according  to  the  dictates  of  conscience." 
is  held  by  the  same  tenure  with  all  our  other  rights.  If  we 
recur  to  its  origin,  it  is  equally  the  gift  of  nature;  if  we  weigh 
its  importance,  it  cannot  be  less  dear  to  us;  if  we  consult  the 
Declaration  of  those  rights  "which  pertain  to  the  good  people 
of  Virginia  as  the  basis  and  foundation  of  Government,"*  it  is 
enumerated  with  equal  solemnity,  or  rather  with  studied  empha 
sis.  Either,  then,  we  must  say,  that  the  will  of  the  Legislature 
is  the  only  measure  of  their  authority,  and  that  in  the  plenitude 

*  Declaration  Rights,  title. 

1785.  LETTERS.  169 

of  that  authority  they  may  sweep  away  all  our  fundamental 
rights,  or  that  they  are  bound  to  leave  this  particular  right 
untouched  and  sacred.  Either  we  must  say,  that  they  may  con- 
troul  the  freedom  of  the  press,  may  abolish  the  trial  by  jury, 
may  swallow  up  the  Executive  and  Judiciary  powers  of  the 
State;  nay,  that  they  may  despoil  us  of  our  very  right  of  suf 
frage,  and  erect  themselves  into  an  independent  and  hereditary 
Assembly;  or  we  must  say,  that  they  have  no  authority  to  enact 
into  a  law  the  Bill  under  consideration. 

We,  the  subscribers,  say  that  the  General  Assembly  of  this 
Commonwealth  have  no  such  authority.  And  in  order  that  no 
effort  may  be  omitted  on  our  part  against  so  dangerous  an  usur 
pation,  we  oppose  to  it  this  remonstrance;  earnestly  praying, 
as  we  are  in  duty  bound,  that  the  Supreme  Lawgiver  of  the 
Universe,  by  illuminating  those  to  whom  it  is  addressed,  may, 
on  the  one  hand,  turn  their  councils  from  every  act  which  would 
affront  his  holy  prerogative,  or  violate  the  trust  committed  to 
them;  and  on  the  other,  guide  them  into  every  measure  which 
may  be  worthy  of  his  blessing,  redound  to  their  own  praise,  and 
establish  more  firmly  the  liberties,  the  prosperity,  and  the  hap 
piness  of  the  Commonwealth. 


ORANGE,  August  7th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  the  day  before  yesterday  your  favour 
of  the  26th  July.  I  had  previously  received  the  Report  on  the 
proposed  change  of  the  9th  article  of  the  Confederation,  trans 
mitted  by  Col.  Grayson;  and  in  my  answer  to  him  offered  such 
ideas  on  the  subject  as  then  occurred. 

I  still  think  the  probability  of  success  or  failure  ought  to 
weigh  much  with  Congress  in  every  recommendation  to  the 
States;  of  which  probability  Congress,  in  whom  information 
from  every  State  centers,  can  alone  properly  judge.  Viewing 
in  the  abstract  the  question  whether  the  power  of  regulating 
trade,  to  a  certain  degree  at  least,  ought  to  be  vested  in  Con- 

170  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17S5. 

gress,  it  appears  to  me  not  to  admit  of  a  doubt  but  that  it 
should  be  decided  in  the  affirmative.  If  it  be  necessary  to  reg 
ulate  trade  at  all,  it  surely  is  necessary  to  lodge  the  power 
where  trade  can  be  regulated  with  effect;  and  experience  has 
confirmed  what  reason  foresaw,  that  it  can  never  be  so  regula 
ted  by  the  States  acting  in  their  separate  capacities.  They  can 
no  more  exercise  this  power  separately  than  they  could  separ 
ately  carry  on  war,  or  separately  form  treaties  of  alliance  or 
commerce.  The  nature  of  the  thing,  therefore,  proves  the  for 
mer  power,  no  less  than  the  latter,  to  be  within  the  reason  of 
the  federal  Constitution. 

Much,  indeed,  is  it  to  be  wished,  as  I  conceive,  that  no  regu 
lations  of  trade,  that  is  to  say,  no  restrictions  on  imposts  what 
ever,  were  necessary.  A  perfect  freedom  is  the  system  which 
would  be  my  choice.  But  before  such  a  system  will  be  eligible, 
perhaps,  for  the  United  States,  they  must  be  out  of  debt;  before 
it  will  be  attainable,  all  other  nations  must  concur  in  it.  Whilst 
any  one  of  these  imposes  on  our  vessels,  seamen,  <fcc.,  in  their 
ports,  clogs  from  which  they  exempt  their  own,  we  must  either 
retort  the  distinction,  or  renounce,  not  merely  a  just  profit,  but 
our  only  defence  against  the  danger  which  may  most  easily  be 
set  us.  Are  we  not  at  this  moment  under  this  very  alternative? 
The  policy  of  Great  Britain  (to  say  nothing  of  other  nations) 
has  shut  against  us  the  channels  without  which  our  trade  with 
her  must  be  a  losing  one;  and  she  has  consequently  the  triumph, 
as  we  have  the  chagrin,  of  seeing  accomplished  her  prophetic 
threats,  that  our  independence  should  forfeit  commercial  advan 
tages  for  which  it  would  not  recompence  us  with  any  new  chan 
nels  of  trade. 

What  is  to  be  done?  Must  we  remain  passive  victims  to  for 
eign  politics,  or  shall  we  exert  the  lawful  means  which  our  in 
dependence  has  put  into  our  hands  of  extorting  redress?  The 
very  question  would  be  an  affront  to  every  citizen  who  loves 
his  country.  What,  then,  are  these  means?  Retaliating  regu 
lations  of  trade  only.  How  are  these  to  be  effectuated  ?  Only 
by  harmony  in  the  measures  of  the  States.  How  is  this  harmony 
to  be  obtained?  Only  by  an  acquiescence  of  all  the  States  in 

1785.  LETTERS.  171 

the  opinion  of  a  reasonable  majority.  If  Congress,  as  they  are 
now  constituted,  cannot  be  trusted  with  the  power  of  digesting 
and  enforcing  this  opinion,  let  them  be  otherwise  constituted; 
let  their  numbers  be  increased,  let  them  be  chosen  oftener,  and 
let  their  period  of  service  be  shortened;  or  if  any  better  medium 
than  Congress  can  be  proposed  by  which  the  wills  of  the  States 
may  be  concentered,  let  it  be  substituted;  or  lastly,  let  no  reg 
ulation  of  trade  adopted  by  Congress  be  in  force  until  it  shall 
have  been  ratified  by  a  certain  proportion  of  the  States.  But 
let  us  not  sacrifice  the  end  to  the  means;  let  us  not  rush  on  cer 
tain  ruin  in  order  to  avoid  a  possible  danger. 

I  conceive  it  to  be  of  great  importance  that  the  defects  of  the 
federal  system  should  be  amended,  not  only  because  such  amend 
ments  will  make  it  better  answer  the  purpose  for  which  it  was 
instituted,  but  because  I  apprehend  danger  to  its  very  existence 
from  a  continuance  of  defects  which  expose  a  part,  if  not  the 
whole,  of  the  empire  to  severe  distress.  The  suffering  part, 
even  when  the  minor  part,  cannot  long  respect  a  Government 
which  is  too  feeble  to  protect  their  interests:  but  when  the  suf 
fering  part  comes  to  be  the  major  part,  and  they  despair  of  see 
ing  a  protecting  energy  given  to  the  General  Government,  from 
what  motives  is  their  allegiance  to  be  any  longer  expected? 
Should  Great  Britain  persist  in  the  machinations  which  distress 
us,  and  seven  or  eight  of  the  States  be  hindered  by  the  others 
from  obtaining  relief  by  federal  means,  I  own  I  tremble  at  the 
anti-federal  expedients  into  which  the  former  may  be  tempted. 

As  to  the  objection  against  entrusting  Congress  with  a  power 
over  trade,  drawn  from  the  diversity  of  interests  in  the  States, 
it  may  be  answered:  1.  That  if  this  objection  had  been  listened 
to,  no  confederation  could  have  ever  taken  place  among  the 
States.  2.  That  if  it  ought  now  to  be  listened  to,  the  power 
held  by  Congress  of  forming  commercial  treaties,  by  whicji  9 
States  may  indirectly  dispose  of  the  Commerce  of  the  residue, 
ought  to  be  immediately  revoked.  3.  That  the  fact  is,  that  a 
case  can  scarcely  be  imagined  in  which  it  would  be  the  interest 
of  any  two-thirds  of  the  States  to  oppress  the  remaining  one- 
third.  4.  That  the  true  question  is,  whether  the  commercial 

172  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

interests  of  the  States  do  not  meet  in  more  points  than  they 
differ.  To  me  it  is  clear  that  they  do;  and  if  they  do,  there  are 
so  many  more  reasons  for  than  against  submitting  the  commer 
cial  interest  of  each  State  to  the  direction  and  care  of  the  ma 

Put  the  West  India  trade  alone,  in  which  the  interest  of  every 
State  is  involved,  into  the  scale  against  all  the  inequalities  which 
may  result  from  any  probable  regulation  by  nine  States,  and 
who  will  say  that  the  latter  ought  to  preponderate?  I  have 
heard  the  different  interest  which  the  Eastern  States  have  as 
carriers  pointed  out  as  a  ground  of  caution  to  the  Southern 
States,  who  have  no  bottoms  of  their  own,  against  their  con 
curring  hastily  in  retaliations  on  Great  Britain.  But  will  the 
present  system  of  Great  Britain  ever  give  the  Southern  States 
bottoms?  and  if  they  are  not  their  own  carriers,  I  should  sup 
pose  it  no  mark  either  of  folly  or  incivility  to  give  our  custom 
to  our  brethren,  rather  than  to  those  who  have  not  yet  entitled 
themselves  to  the  name  of  friends. 

In  detailing  these  sentiments,  I  have  nothing  more  in  view 
than  to  prove  the  readiness  with  which  I  obey  your  request. 
As  far  as  they  are  just,  they  must  have  been  often  suggested  in 
the  discussions  of  Congress  on  the  subject.  I  cannot  even  give 
them  weight  by  saying  that  I  have  reason  to  believe  they  would 
be  relished  in  the  public  Councils  of  this  State.  From  the  trials 
of  which  I  have  been  a  witness,  I  augur  that  great  difficulties 
will  be  encountered  in  every  attempt  to  prevail  on  the  Legisla 
ture  to  part  with  power.  The  thing  itself  is  not  only  unpala 
table,  but  the  arguments  which  plead  for  it  have  not  their  full 
force  on  minds  unaccustomed  to  consider  the  interests  of  the 
State  as  they  are  interwoven  with  those  of  the  Confederacy, 
much  less  as  they  may  be  affected  by  foreign  politics;  whilst 
those  which  plead  against  it  are  not  only  specious,  but  in  their 
nature  popular,  and  for  that  reason  sure  of  finding  patrons. 

Add  to  all  this,  that  the  Mercantile  interest,  which  has  taken 
the  lead  in  rousing  the  public  attention  of  other  States,  is  in 
this  so  exclusively  occupied  in  British  Commerce,  that  what 
little  weight  they  have  will  be  most  likely  to  fall  into  the  oppo- 

1785.  LETTERS.  173 

site  scale.  The  only  circumstance  which  promises  a  favorable 
hearing  to  the  meditated  proposition  of  Congress  is,  that  the 
power  which  it  asks  is  to  be  exerted  against  Great  Britain,  and 
the  proposition  will  consequently  be  seconded  by  the  animosities 
which  still  prevail  in  a  strong  degree  against  her. 

I  am,  my  dear  sir,  very  sincerely,  your  friend  and  serv. 


ORANGE,  August  20th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — Yours  of  the  18th  of  March  never  reached  me 
till  the  4th  instant.  It  came  by  post  from  New  York,  which  it 
did  not  leave  till  the  21  of  July.  My  last  was  dated  in  April, 
and  went  by  Mr.  Mazzei,  who  picked  it  up  at  New  York  and 
promised  to  deliver  it  with  his  own  hand. 

The  machinations  of  Great  Britain,  with  regard  to  commerce, 
have  produced  much  distress  and  noise  in  the  Northern  States, 
particularly  in  Boston,  from  whence  the  alarm  has  spread  to 
New  York  and  Philadelphia.  Your  correspondence  with  Con 
gress  will  no  doubt  have  furnished  you  with  full  information  on 
this  head.  I  only  know  the  general  fact,  and  that  the  sufferers 
are  everywhere  calling  for  such  augmentation  of  the  power  of 
Congress  as  may  effect  relief.  How  far  the  Southern  States, 
and  Virginia  in  particular,  will  join  in  this  proposition,  cannot 
be  foreseen.  It  is  easy  to  foresee  that  the  circumstances  which, 
in  a  confined  view,  distinguish  our  situation  from  that  of  our 
brethren,  will  be  laid  hold  of  by  the  partizans  of  Great  Britain, 
by  those  who  are  or  affect  to  be  jealous  of  Congress,  and  those 
who  are  interested  in  the  present  course  of  business,  to  give  a 
wrong  bias  to  our  councils.  If  anything  should  reconcile  Vir 
ginia  to  the  idea  of  giving  Congress  a  power  over  her  trade,  it 
will  be  that  this  power  is  likely  to  annoy  Great  Britain,  against 
whom  the  animosities  of  our  citizens  are  still  strong.  They 
seem  to  have  less  sensibility  to  their  commercial  interests,  which 

174  WORKS    OF    MADISON  1785. 

they  very  little  understand,  and  which  the  mercantile  class  here 
have  not  the  same  motives,  if  they  had  the  same  capacity,  to  lay 
open  to  the  public,  as  that  class  have  in  the  States  North  of  us. 

The  price  of  our  Staple  since  the  peace  is  another  cause  of 
inattention  in  the  planters  to  the  dark  side  of  our  commercial 
affairs.  Should  these  or  any  other  causes  prevail  in  frustrating 
the  scheme  of  the  Eastern  and  Middle  States  of  a  general  retal 
iation  on  Great  Britain,  I  tremble  for  the  event.  A  majority 
of  the  States,  deprived  of  a  regular  remedy  for  their  distresses 
by  the  want  of  a  federal  spirit  in  the  minority,  must  feel  the 
strongest  motives  to  some  irregular  experiments.  The  danger 
of  such  a  crisis  makes  me  surmise  that  the  policy  of  Great 
Britain  results  as  much  from  the  hope  of  effecting  a  breach  in 
our  Confederacy  as  of  monopolizing  our  trade. 

Our  internal  trade  is  taking  an  arrangement  from  which  I 
hope  good  consequences.  Retail  Stores  are  spreading  all  over 
the  Country;  many  of  them  carried  on  by  native  adventurers, 
some  of  them  branched  out  from  the  principal  Stores  at  the 
heads  of  navigation.  The  distribution  of  the  business,  however, 
into  the  importing  and  the  retail  departments,  has  not  yet  taken 
place.  Should  the  port  bill  be  established,  it  will,  I  think, 
quickly  add  this  amendment,  which  indeed  must  in  a  little  time 
follow  of  itself.  It  is  the  more  to  be  wished  for.  as  it  is  the 
only  radical  cure  for  credit  to  the  consumer,  which  continues  to 
be  given  to  a  degree  which,  if  not  checked,  will  turn  the  diffu 
sive  retail  of  Merchandize  into  a  nuisance.  When  the  Shop 
keeper  buys  his  goods  of  the  wholesale  Merchant,  he  must  buy 
at  so  short  a  credit  that  he  can  venture  to  give  none  at  all. 

You  ask  me  to  unriddle  the  dissolution  of  the  Committee  of 
the  States  at  Annapolis.  I  am  not  sure  that  I  am  myself  pos 
sessed  fully  of  the  causes,  different  members  of  Congress  having 
differed  in  their  accounts  of  the  matter.  My  conception  of  it 
is,  that  the  abrupt  departure  of  some  of  the  Eastern  delegates, 
which  destroyed  the  quorum,  and  which  Dana  is  said  to  have 
been  at  the  bottom  of,  proceeded  partly  from  irritations  among 
the  committee,  partly  from  dislike  to  the  place  of  their  session, 

1785.  LETTERS.  175 

and  partly  from  an  impatience  to  get  home,  which  prevailed 
over  their  regard  for  their  private  characters,  as  well  as  for 
their  public  duty. 

Subsequent  to  the  date  of  mine  in  which  I  gave  my  idea  of 
Fayette,  I  had  further  opportunities  of  penetrating  his  charac 
ter.  Though  his  foibles  did  not  disappear,  all  the  favorable 
traits  presented  themselves  in  a  stronger  light  on  closer  inspec 
tion.  He  certainly  possesses  talents  which  might  figure  in  any 
line.  If  he  is  ambitious,  it  is  rather  of  the  praise  which  virtue 
dedicates  to  merit,  than  of  the  homage  which  fear  renders  to 
power;  his  disposition  is  naturally  warm  and  affectionate,  and 
his  attachment  to  the  United  States  unquestionable.  Unless  I 
am  grossly  deceived,  you  will  find  his  zeal  sincere  and  useful, 
whenever  it  can  be  employed  in  behalf  of  the  United  States 
without  opposition  to  the  essential  interests  of  France. 

The  opposition  to  the  General  Assessment  gains  ground.  At 
the  instance  of  some  of  its  adversaries,  I  drew  up  the  remon 
strance  herewith  inclosed.  It  has  been  sent  through  the  me 
dium  of  confidential  persons  in  a  number  of  the  upper  Counties, 
and  I  am  told  will  be  pretty  extensively  signed.  The  Presby 
terian  clergy  have  at  length  espoused  the  side  of  the  opposition, 
being  moved  either  by  a  fear  of  their  laity  or  a  jealousy  of  the 
Episcopalians.  The  mutual  hatred  of  these  sects  has  been  much 
inflamed  by  the  late  act  incorporating  the  latter.  I  am  far  from 
being  sorry  for  it,  as  a  coalition  between  them  could  alone  en 
danger  our  religious  rights,  arid  a  tendency  to  such  an  event 
had  been  suspected.  The  fate  of  the  Circuit  Courts  is  uncertain. 
They  are  threatened  with  no  small  danger  from  the  diversity 
of  opinions  entertained  among  the  friends  of  some  reform  in 
that  department.  But  the  greatest  danger  is  to  be  feared  from 
those  who  mask  a  secret  aversion  to  any  reform  under  a  zeal 
for  such  a  one  as  they  know  will  be  rejected.  The  Potowmac 
Company  are  going  on  with  very  flattering  prospects.  Their 
subscriptions  some  time  ago  amounted  to  upward  of  four-fifths 
of  the  whole  sum.  I  have  the  pleasure,  also,  to  find,  by  an  ad 
vertisement  from  the  managers  for  James  River,  that  more  than 
half  the  sum  is  subscribed  for  that  undertaking,  and  that  the 

J76  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785< 

subscribers  are  to  meet  shortly  for  the  purpose  of  organizing 
themselves  and  going  to  work.  I  despair  of  seeing  the  Revisal 
taken  up  at  the  ensuing  session.  The  number  of  copies  struck 
are  so  deficient,  (there  being  not  above  three  for  each  Count}7,) 
and  there  has  been  such  delay  in  distributing  them,  (none  of  the 
Counties  having  received  them  till  very  lately,  and  some  prob 
ably  not  yet,  though  they  were  ready  long  ago.)  that  the  prin 
cipal  end  of  their  being  printed  has  been  frustrated. 

Our  fields  promise  very  short  crops  both  of  corn  and  Tobacco. 
The  latter  was  much  injured  by  the  grasshopper  and  other  in 
sects;  the  former,  somewhat  by  the  bug  in  the  southern  parts  of 
the  State;  but  both  have  suffered  most  from  dry  weather,  which 
prevails  at  present  in  this  part  of  the  country,  and  has  generally 
prevailed,  I  understand,  in  most  other  parts.  It  seems  certain 
that  no  future  weather  can  make  a  great  crop  of  either,  partic 
ularly  of  Tobacco,  so  great  a  proportion  of  the  hills  being 
without  plants  in  them,  and  so  many  more  with  plants  in  them 
which  must  come  to  nothing.  Notwithstanding  this  prospect, 
its  price  has  fallen  from  36s.  to  30s.  on  James  River,  and  28s. 
on  Rappahannock.  The  scarcity  of  cash  is  one  cause. 

Harrison,  late  Governor,  was  elected  in  Surrey,  whither  he 
previously  removed  with  his  family.  A  contest  for  the  chair 
will  no  doubt  ensue;  should  he  fail,  he  will  be  for  Congress. 

I  have  not  yet  received  any  of  the  books  which  you  have  been 
so  kind  as  to  pick  up  for  me,  but  expect  their  arrival  daily,  as 
you  were  probably  soon  after  the  date  of  your  last  apprised 
that  1  was  withdrawn  from  the  nomination,  which  led  you  to 
suspend  the  forwarding  them.  I  am  invited  by  Col.  Monroe  to 
an  option  of  rambles  this  fall,  one  of  which  is  into  the  Eastern 
States.  I  wish  much  to  accept  so  favorable  an  opportunity  of 
executing  the  plan  from  which  I  was  diverted  last  fall,  but  can 
not  decide  with  certainty  whether  it  will  be  practicable  or  not. 
I  have,  in  conjunction  with  a  friend  here,  a  project  of  interest 
on  the  anvil,  which  will  carry  me  at  least  as  far  as  Phila  or  New 
York,  where  I  shall  be  able  to  take  my  final  resolution. 
Adieu.  Yrs  sincerely. 

1785.  LETTERS.  177 


ORANGE.  Augnst  23,  1785. 

DEAE  Sra, — Your  favour  of  the  12th  of  July  was  safely  de 
livered  to  me  by  Mr.  Craig.  I  accept  with  pleasure  your  pro 
posed  exchange  of  Western  for  Eastern  intelligence,  and  though 
I  am  a  stranger  to  parental  ties,  can  sufficiently  conceive  the 
happiness  of  which  they  are  a  source  to  congratulate  you  on 
your  possession  of  two  fine  sons  and  a  daughter.  I  do  not  smile 
at  the  idea  of  transplanting  myself  into  your  wilderness.  Such 
a  change  of  my  abode  is  not.  indeed,  probable,  yet  I  have  no 
local  partialities  which  can  keep  me  from  any  place  which  prom 
ises  the  greatest  real  advantages.  But  if  such  a  removal  was 
not  even  possible,  I  should  nevertheless  be  ready  to  communi 
cate,  as  you  desire,  my  Ideas  towards  a  constitution  of  Govern 
ment  for  the  State  in  embryo. 

I  pass  over  the  general  policy  of  the  measure  which  calls  for 
such  a  provision.  It  has  been  unanimously  embraced  by  those 
who,  being  most  interested  in  it,  must  have  best  considered  it, 
and  will,  I  dare  say,  be  with  equal  unanimity  acceded  to  by  the 
other  party,  [Congress,]  which  is  to  be  consulted.  I  will  first 
offer  some  general  remarks  on  the  subject,  and  then  answer 
your  several  queries. 

1.  The  Legislative  Department  ought  by  all  means,  as  I 
think,  to  include  a  Senate,  constituted  on  such  principles  as  will 
give  tvisdom  and  steadiness  to  legislation.  The  want  of  these 
qualities  is  the  grievance  complained  of  in  all  our  republics. 
The  want  of  fidelity  in  the  administration  of  power  having  been 
the  grievance  felt  under  most  governments,  and  by  the  Amer 
ican  States  themselves  under  the  British  government,  it  was 
natural  for  them  to  give  too  exclusive  an  attention  to  this  pri 
mary  attribute.  The  Senate  of  Maryland,  with  a  few  amend 
ments,  is  a  good  model.  Trial  has,  I  am  told,  verified  the  ex 
pectations  from  it.  A  similar  one  made  a  part  of  our  Consti 
tution  as  it  was  originally  proposed,  but  the  inexperience  and 
jealousy  of  our  then  Councils  rejected  it  in  favor  of  our  present 
Senate;  a  worse  could  hardly  have  been  substituted;  and  yet, 

VOL.  i.  12 

178  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1783. 

Lad  as  it  is,  it  is  often  a  useful  bit  in  the  mouth  of  the  House 
of  Delegates.  Not  a  single  Session  passes  without  instances  of 
sudden  resolutions  by  the  latter,  of  which  they  repent  in  time 
to  intercede  privately  with  the  Senate  for  their  negative.  For 
the  other  branch,  models  enough  may  be  found;  care  ought, 
however,  to  be  taken  against  its  becoming  too  numerous,  by  fix 
ing  the  number  which  it  is  never  to  exceed.  The  quorum,  wages, 
and  privileges,  of  both  branches,  ought  also  to  be  fixed.  A  ma 
jority  seems  to  be  the  natural  quorum.  The  wages  of  the  mem 
bers  may  be  made  payable  for  years  to  come,  in  the  medium 
value  of  wheat  for  years  preceding,  as  the  same  shall  from 
period  to  period  be  rated  by  a  respectable  jury  appointed  for  that 
purpose  by  the  Supreme  Court.  The  privileges  of  the  members 
ought  not,  in  my  opinion,  to  extend  beyond  an  exemption  of  their 
persons  and  equipage  from  arrests  during  the  time  of  their 
actual  service.  If  it  were  possible,  it  would  be  well  to  define 
the  extent  of  the  Legislative  power;  but  the  nature  of  it  seems 
in  many  respects  to  be  indefinite.  It  is  very  practicable,  how 
ever,  to  enumerate  the  essential  exceptions.  The  Constitution 
may  expressly  restrain  them  from  meddling  with  religion;  from 
abolishing  Juries;  from  taking  away  the  Habeas  Corpus;  from 
forcing  a  citizen  to  give  evidence  against  himself;  from  controul- 
ing  the  press;  from  enacting  retrospective  laws,  at  least  in  crim 
inal  cases;  from  abridging  the  right  of  suffrage;  from  taking 
private  property  for  public  use  without  paying  its  full  value; 
from  licensing  the  importation  of  slaves;  from  infringing  the 
confederation,  <fec.,  &c. 

As  a  further  security  against  fluctuating  and  indigested  laws, 
the  Constitution  of  New  York  has  provided  a  Council  of  Re 
vision.  I  approve  much  of  such  an  institution,  and  believe  it  is 
considered  by  the  most  intelligent  citizens  of  that  State  as  a 
valuable  safeguard  both  to  public  interests  and  to  private  rights. 
Another  provision  has  been  suggested  for  preserving  system  in 
Legislative  proceedings,  which  to  some  may  appear  still  better. 
It  is  that  a  standing  committee,  composed  of  a  few  select  and 
and  skilful  individuals,  should  be  appointed  to  prepare  bills  on 
all  subjects  which  they  may  judge  proper  to  be  submitted  to  the 

1785.  LETTERS.  179 

Legislature  at  their  meetings,  and  to  draw  bills  for  them  during 
their  Sessions.  As  an  antidote  both  to  the  jealousy  and  danger 
of  their  acquiring  an  improper  influence,  they  might  be  made 
incapable  of  holding  any  other  office,  Legislative,  Executive,  or 
Judiciary.  I  like  this  suggestion  so  much  that  I  have  had 
thoughts  of  proposing  it  to  our  Assembly,  who  give  almost  as 
many  proofs  as  they  pass  laws  of  their  need  of  some  such  assist 

2.  The  Executive  Department.     Though  it  claims  the  second 
place,  it  is  not  in  my  estimation  entitled  to  it  by  its  importance, 
all  the  great  powers  which  are  properly  executive  being  trans 
ferred  to  the  Federal  Government.     I  have  made  up  no  final 
opinion  whether  the  first  Magistrate  should  be  chosen  by  the 
Legislature  or  the  people  at  large,  or  whether  the  power  should 
be  vested  in  one  man,  assisted  by  a  Council,  or  in  a  Council,  of 
which  the  President  shall  be  only  primus  inter  pares.     There 
are  examples  of  each  in  the  United  States;  and  probably  ad 
vantages  and  disadvantages  attending  each.     It  is  material,  I 
think,  that  the  number  of  members  should  be  small,  and  that 
their  Salaries  should  be  either  unalterable  by  the  Legislature, 
or  alterable  only  in  such  manner  as  will  not  affect  any  individ 
ual  in  place.     Our  Executive  is  the  worst  part  of  a  bad  Con 
stitution.    The  members  of  it  are  dependent  on  the  Legislature 
not  only  for  their  wages,  but  for  their  reputation,  and  therefore 
are  not  likely  to  withstand  usurpations  of  that  branch;  they 
are,  besides,  too  numerous  and  expensive;  their  organization 
vague  and  perplexed;  and  to  crown  the  absurdity,  some  of  the 
members  may,  without  any  new  appointment,  continue  in  Office 
for  life,  contrary  to  one  of  the  Articles  of  the  Declaration  of 

3.  The  Judiciary  Department  merits  every  care.    Its  efficacy 
is  demonstrated  in  Great  Britain,  where  it  maintains  private 
right  against  all  the  corruptions  of  the  two  other  Departments, 
and  gives  a  reputation  to  the  whole  government  which  it  is  not 
in  itself  entitled  to.     The  main  points  to  be  attended  to  are: 
I.  That  the  Judges  should  hold  their  places  during  good  be 
haviour.     2.  That  their  Salaries  should  be  either  fixed  like  the 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  ns-,. 

wages  of  the  Representatives,  or  not  be  alterable  so  as  to  affect 
the  Individuals  in  Office.  3.  That  their  Salaries  be  liberal. 
The  first  point  is  obvious;  without  the  second,  the  independence 
aimed  at  by  the  first  will  be  ideal  only;  without  the  third,  the 
bar  will  be  superior  to  the  bench,  which  destroys  all  security 
for  a  systematic  administration  of  justice.  After  securing  these 
essential  points,  I  should  think  it  unadvisable  to  descend  so  far 
into  detail  as  to  bar  any  future  modification  of  this  department 
which  experience  may  recommend.  An  enumeration  of  the  prin 
cipal  Courts,  with  power  to  the  Legislature  to  institute  inferior 
Courts,  may  suffice.  The  Admiralty  business  can  never  be  ex 
tensive  in  your  situation,  and  may  be  referred  to  one  of  the 
other  Courts.  With  regard  to  a  Court  of  Chancery,  as  distinct 
from  a  Court  of  Law,  the  reasons  of  Lord  Bacon  on  the  affirma 
tive  side  outweigh,  in  my  judgment,  those  of  Lord  Kaimes  on  the 
other  side;  yet  I  should  think  it  best  to  leave  this  important 
question  to  be  decided  by  future  lights,  without  tying  the  hands 
of  the  Legislature  one  way  or  the  other.  I  consider  our  County 
Courts  as  on  a  bad  footing,  and  would  never,  myself,  consent  to 
copy  them  into  another  Constitution. 

All  the  States  seem  to  have  seen  the  necessity  of  providing 
for  Impeachments,  but  none  of  them  to  have  hit  on  an  unexcep 
tionable  tribunal.  In  some  the  trial  is  referred  to  the  Senate, 
in  others  to  the  Executive,  in  others  to  the  Judiciary  depart 
ment.  It  has  been  suggested  that  a  tribunal  composed  of  mem 
bers  from  each  department  would  be  better  than  either,  and 
I  entirely  concur  in  that  opinion.  I  proceed  next  to  your 

1.  "Whether  is  a  representation  according  to  numbers,  or 
"  property,  or  in  a  joint  proportion  to  both,  the  most  safe?  Or 
"  is  a  representation  by  Counties  preferable  to  a  more  equitable 
"  mode  that  will  be  difficult  to  adjust?"  Under  this  question 
may  be  considered:  1.  The  right  of  suffrage.  2.  The  mode  of 
suffrage.  3.  The  plan  of  representation.  As  to  the  first,  I 
think  the  extent  which  ought  to  be  given  to  this  right  a  matter 
of  great  delicacy  and  of  critical  importance.  To  restrain  it  to 
the  land  holders  will  in  time  exclude  too  great  a  proportion  of 

LETTERS.  181 

citizens;  to  extend  it  to  all  citizens  without  regard  to  property, 
or  even  to  all  who  possess  a  pittance,  may  throw  too  much 
power  into  hands  which  will  either  abuse  it  themselves  or  sell 
it  to  the  rich  who  will  abuse  it.  I  have  thought  it  might  be  a 
good  middle  course  to  narrow  this  right  in  the  choice  of  the 
least  popular,  and  to  enlarge  it  in  that  of  the  more  popular 
branch  of  the  Legislature.  There  is  an  example  of  this  distinc 
tion  in  North  Carolina,  if  in  none  of  the  other  States.  How  it 
operates  or  is  relished  by  the  people  I  cannot  say.  It  would 
not  be  surprising  if  in  the  outset,  at  least,  it  should  offend  the 
sense  of  equality  which  reigns  in  a  free  country.  In  a  general 
view,  I  see  no  reason  why  the  rights  of  property,  which  chiefly 
bears  the  burden  of  Government,  and  is  so  much  an  object  of 
Legislation,  should  not  be  respected  as  well  as  personal  rights 
in  the  choice  of  Rulers.  It  must  be  owned,  indeed,  that  prop 
erty  will  give  influence  to  the  holder,  though  it  should  give  him 
no  legal  privileges,  and  will  in  general  be  safe  on  that  as  well 
as  on  other  accounts,  especially  if  the  business  of  legislation  be 
guarded  with  the  provisions  hinted  at.  2.  As  to  the  mode  of 
suffrage,  I  lean  strongly  to  that  of  the  ballot,  notwithstanding 
the  objections  which  lie  against  it.  It  appears  to  me  to  be  the 
only  radical  cure  for  those  arts  of  electioneering  which  poison 
the  very  fountain  of  Liberty.  The  States  in  which  the  ballot 
has  been  the  standing  mode  are  the  only  instances  in  which 
elections  are  tolerably  chaste  and  those  arts  in  disgrace.  If  it 
should  be  thought  improper  to  fix  this  mode  by  the  Constitu 
tion,  I  should  think  it  at  least  necessary  to  avoid  any  constitu 
tional  bar  to  a  future  adoption  of  it.*  3.  By  the  plan  of  rep 
resentation  I  mean:  1.  The  classing  of  the  electors.  2.  The 
proportioning  of  the  representatives  to  each  class.  The  first 
cannot  be  otherwise  done  than  by  geographical  description,  as 
by  Counties.  The  second  may  easily  be  done,  in  the  first  in 
stance,  either  by  comprising  within  each  County  an  equal  num 
ber  of  Electors,  or  by  proportioning  the  number  of  representa 
tives  of  each  County  to  its  number  of  Electors.  The  difficulty 

*  The  Constitution  of  New  York  directs  an  experiment  on  this  subject. 

182  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

arises  from  the  disproportionate  increase  of  electors  in  different 
Counties.  There  seem  to  be  two  methods  only  by  which  the 
representation  can  be  equalized  from  time  to  time.  The  first  is 
to  change  the  bounds  of  the  Counties;  the  second,  to  change  the 
number  of  representatives  allotted  to  them,  respectively.  As 
the  former  would  not  only  be  most  troublesome  and  expensive, 
but  would  involve  a  variety  of  other  adjustments,  the  latter 
method  is  evidently  the  best.  Examples  of  a  Constitutional 
provision  for  it  exists  in  several  of  the  States.  In  some  it  is  to 
be  executed  periodically;  in  others,  pro  re  nata.  The  latter 
seems  most  accurate  and  very  practicable.  I  have  already  in 
timated  the  propriety  of  fixing  the  number  of  representatives, 
which  ought  never  to  be  exceeded;  I  should  suppose  one  hun 
dred  and  fifty,  or  even  one  hundred,  might  safely  be  made  the 
ne  plus  ultra  for  Kentucky. 

2.  "Which  is  to  be  preferred;  an  annual,  triennial,  or  septen- 
"  nial  succession  to  offices,  or  frequent  elections  without  limita- 
"  tions  in  choice,  or  that  officers  when  chosen  should  continue 
"  quamdiu  se  bene  gesserint?"  The  rule  ought  no  doubt  to  be 
different  in  the  different  departments  of  power.  For  one  part 
of  the  Legislature  annual  elections  will,  I  suppose,  be  held  in 
dispensable;  though  some  of  the  ablest  Statesmen  and  soundest 
Republicans  in  the  United  States  are  in  favor  of  triennial.  The 
great  danger  in  departing  from  annual  elections  in  this  case 
lies  in  the  want  of  some  other  natural  term  to  limit  the  depar 
ture.  For  the  other  branch,  four  or  five  years  may  be  the  period. 
For  neither  branch  does  it  seem  necessary  or  proper  to  prohibit 
an  indefinite  re-eligibility.  With  regard  to  the  Executive,  if 
the  elections  be  frequent,  and  particularly  if  made  as  to  any 
member  of  it  by  the  people  at  large,  a  re-eligibility  cannot,  I 
think,  be  objected  to.  If  they  be  unfrequent,  a  temporary  or 
perpetual  incapacitation,  according  to  the  degree  of  unfrequency, 
at  least  in  the  case  of  the  first  Magistrate,  may  not  be  amiss. 
As  to  the  Judiciary  department,  enough  has  been  said;  and  as 
to  the  subordinate  officers,  civil  and  military,  nothing  need  be 
said  more  than  that  a  regulation  of  their  appointments  may, 
under  a  few  restrictions,  be  safely  trusted  to  the  Legislature. 


LETTERS.  183 

3.  "How  far  may  the  same  person  with  propriety  be  em- 
u  ployed  in  the  different  departments  of  Government  in  an  in- 
"  fant  country,  where  the  counsel  of  every  individual  may  be 
"  needed?"    Temporary  deviations  from  fundamental  principles 
are  always  more  or  less  dangerous.     When  the  first  pretext 
fails,  those  who  become  interested  in  prolonging  the  evil  will 
rarely  be  at  a  loss  for  other  pretexts.     The  first  precedent,  too, 
familiarises  the  people  to  the  irregularity,  lessens  their  venera 
tion  for  those  fundamental  principles,  and  makes  them  a  more 
easy  prey  to  ambition  and  self  interest.    Hence  it  is  that  abuses 
of  every  kind,  when  once  established,  have  been  so  often  found 
to  perpetuate  themselves.     In  this  caution,  I  refer  chiefly  to  an 
improper  mixture  of  the  three  great  Departments  within  the 
State.     A  delegation  to  Congress  is,  I  conceive,  compatible 
with  either. 

4.  "  Should  there  be  a  periodical  review  of  the  Constitution? " 
Nothing  appears  more  eligible  in  theory,  nor  has  sufficient  trial, 
perhaps,  been  yet  made  to  condemn  it  in  practice.     Pennsylva 
nia  has  alone  adopted  the  expedient.     Her  citizens  are  much 
divided  on  the  subject  of  their  Constitution  in  general,  and 
probably  on  this  part  of  it  in  particular.    I  am  inclined  to  think, 
though  am  far  from  being  certain,  that  it  is  not  a  favorite  part 
even  with  those  who  are  fondest  of  their  Constitution.    Another 
plan  has  been  thought  of,  which  might,  perhaps,  succeed  better, 
and  would  at  the  same  time  be  a  safeguard  to  the  equilibrium 
of  the  constituent  departments  of  Government.     This  is,  that  a 
majority  of  any  two  of  the  three  departments  should  have  au 
thority  to  call  a  plenipotentiary  convention  whenever  they  may 
think  their  constitutional  powers  have  been  violated  by  the 
other  department,  or  that  any  material  part  of  the  Constitution 
needs  amendment.     In  your  situation,  I  should  think  it  both 
imprudent  and  indecent  not  to  leave  a  door  open  for  at  least 
one  revision  of  your  first  establishment — imprudent,  because 
you  have  neither  the  same  resources  for  supporting  nor  the 
same  lights  for  framing  a  good  establishment  now  as  you  will 
have  fifteen  or  twenty  years  hence — indecent,  because  an  hand 
ful  of  early  settlers  ought  not  to  preclude  a  populous  country 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1755. 

from  a  choice  of  the  Government  under  which  they  and  their 
posterity  are  to  live.  Should  your  first  Constitution  be  made 
thus  temporary,  the  objections  against  an  intermediate  union  of 
offices  will  be  proportionally  lessened.  Should  a  revision  of  it 
not  be  made  thus  necessary  and  certain,  there  will  be  little 
probability  of  its  being  ever  revised.  Faulty  as  our  Constitu 
tion  is,  as  well  with  regard  to  the  authority  which  formed  it  as 
to  the  manner  in  which  it  is  formed,  the  issue  of  an  experiment 
has  taught  us  the  difficulty  of  amending  it.  And  although  the 
issue  might  have  proceeded  from  the  unseasonableness  of  the 
time,  yet  it  may  be  questioned  whether,  at  any  future  time,  the 
greater  depth  to  which  it  will  have  stricken  its  roots  will  not 
counterbalance  any  more  auspicious  circumstances  for  overturn 
ing  it. 

5  &  G.  "  Or  will  it  be  better  unalterably  to  fix  some  leading 
44  principles  in  government,  and  make  it  consistent  for  the  Legis- 
11  lature  to  introduce  such  changes  in  lesser  matters  as  may 
''become  expedient?  Can  Censors  be  provided  that  will  im- 
"  partially  point  out  deficiences  in  the  Constitution  and  the 
"  violations  that  may  happen?" 

Answers  on  these  points  may  be  gathered  from  what  has  been 
already  said. 

I  have  been  led  to  offer  my  sentiments  in  this  loose  form 
rather  than  to  attempt  a  delineation  of  such  a  plan  of  govern 
ment  as  would  please  myself,  not  only  by  my  ignorance  of  many 
local  circumstances  and  opinions  which  must  be  consulted  in 
such  a  work,  but  also  by  the  want  of  sufficient  time  for  it.  At 
the  receipt  of  your  letter  I  had  other  employment,  and  what  I 
now  write  is  in  the  midst  of  preparations  for  a  journey  of  busi 
ness,  which  will  carry  me  as  far  as  Philadelphia  at  least,  and 
on  which  I  shall  set  out  in  a  day  or  two. 

I  am  sorry  that  it  is  not  in  my  power  to  give  you  some  satis 
factory  information  concerning  the  Mississippi.  A  Minister 
from  Spain  has  been  with  Congress  for  some  time,  and  is  au 
thorised,  as  I  understand,  to  treat  on  whatever  subjects  may 
concern  the  two  nations.  If  any  explanations  or  propositions 
have  passed  between  him  and  the  Minister  of  Congress,  they 

1785.  JEFFERSON'S    DRAUGHT,    ETC.  185 

are  as  yet  in  the  list  of  Cabinet  secrets.  As  soon  as  any  such 
shall  be  made  public  and  come  to  my  knowledge,  I  shall  take 
the  first  opportunity  of  transmitting  them.  Wishing  you  and 
your  family  all  happiness, 

I  am,  Dr  Sir,  your  friend  and  servant. 

The  Constitutions  of  the  several  States  were  printed  in  a 
small  volume  a  year  or  two  ago,  by  order  of  Congress.  A  peru 
sal  of  them  need  not  be  recommended  to  you.  Having  but  a 
single  copy,  I  cannot  supply  you.  It  is  not  improbable  that 
you  may  be  already  possessed  of  one.  The  revisal  of  our  laws 
by  Jefferson,  Wythe,  and  Pendleton,  beside  their  value  in  im 
proving  the  legal  code,  may  suggest  something  worthy  of  being 
attended  to  in  framing  a  Constitution. 

[Remarks  on  Mr.  Jefferson's  ''Draught  of  a  Constitution  for  Virginia,"*  sent 
from  New  York  to  Mr.  John  Brown,  Kentucky,  October  1788 :] 

The  term  of  two  years  is  too  short.    Six 


years  are  not  more  than  sufficient.  A 
Senate  is  to  withstand  the  occasional  impetuosities  of  the  more 
numerous  branch.  The  members  ought,  therefore,  to  derive  a 
firmness  from  the  tenure  of  their  places.  It  ought  to  supply 
the  defect  of  knowledge  and  experience  incident  to  the  other 
branch;  there  ought  to  be  time  given,  therefore,  for  attaining  the 
qualifications  necessary  for  that  purpose.  It  ought,  finally,  to 
maintain  that  system  and  steadiness  in  public  affairs  without 
which  no  government  can  prosper  or  be  respectable.  This  can 
not  be  done  by  a  body  undergoing  a  frequent  change  of  its  mem 
bers.  A  Senate  for  six  years  will  not  be  dangerous  to  liberty; 
on  the  contrary,  it  will  be  one  of  its  best  guardians.  By  cor 
recting  the  infirmities  of  popular  government,  it  will  prevent 
that  disgust  against  that  form  which  may  otherwise  produce  a 

*  Contained  in  appendix  to  ''Notes  on  Virginia." 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

sudden  transition  to  some  very  different  one.  It  is  no  secret 
to  any  attentive  and  dispassionate  observer  of  the  political  situ 
ation  of  the  United  States,  that  the  real  danger  to  republican 
liberty  has  lurked  in  that  cause. 

The  appointment  of  Senators  by  districts  seems  to  be  objec 
tionable.  A  spirit  of  locality  is  inseparable  from  that  mode. 
The  evil  is  fully  displayed  in  the  County  representations,  the 
members  of  which  are  everywhere  observed  to  lose  sight  of  the 
aggregate  interests  of  the  community,  and  even  to  sacrifice  them 
to  the  interests  or  prejudices  of  their  respective  constituents. 
In  general,  these  local  interests  are  miscalculated.  But  it  is 
not  impossible  for  a  measure  to  be  accommodated  to  the  partic 
ular  interests  of  every  County  or  district,  when  considered  by 
itself,  and  not  so,  when  considered  in  relation  to  each  other 
and  to  the  whole  State;  in  the  same  manner  as  the  interests  of 
individuals  may  be  very  different  in  a  state  of  nature  and  in  a 
political  union.  The  most  effectual  remedy  for  the  local  bias 
is  to  impress  on  the  minds  of  the  Senators  an  attention  to  the 
interest  of  the  whole  society,  by  making  them  the  choice  of  the 
whole  Society,  each  citizen  voting  for  every  Senator.  The  objec 
tion  here  is,  that  the  fittest  characters  would  not  be  sufficiently 
known  to  the  people  at  large.  But,  in  free  governments,  merit 
and  notoriety  of  character  are  rarely  separated;  and  such  a 
regulation  would  connect  them  more  and  more  together.  Should 
this  mode  of  election  be  on  the  whole  not  approved,  that  estab 
lished  in  Maryland  presents  a  valuable  alternative.  The  latter 
affords,  perhaps,  a  greater  security  for  the  selection  of  merit. 
The  inconveniences  chargeable  on  it  are  two:  first,  that  the 
Council  of  electors  favors  cabal.  Against  this,  the  shortness 
of  its  existence  is  a  good  antidote.  Secondly,  that  in  a  large 
State  the  meeting  of  the  electors  must  be  expensive  if  they  be 
paid,  or  badly  attended  if  the  service  is  onerous.  To  this  it 
may  be  answered  that,  in  a  case  of  such  vast  importance,  the 
expense,  which  could  not  be  great,  ought  to  be  disregarded. 
Whichever  of  these  modes  may  be  preferred,  it  cannot  be  amiss 
so  far  to  admit  the  plan  of  districts  as  to  restrain  the  choice  to 
persons  residing  in  different  parts  of  the  State.  Such  a  regula- 

178.3.  JEFFERSON'S    DRAUGHT,    ETC.  187 

tion  will  produce  a  diffusive  confidence  in  the  body,  which  is 
not  less  necessary  than  the  other  means  of  rendering  it  useful. 
In  a  State  having  large  towns  which  can  easily  unite  their 
votes,  the  precaution  would  be  essential  to  an  immediate  choice 
by  the  people  at  large.  In  Maryland  no  regard  is  paid  to  resi 
dence,  and,  what  is  remarkable,  vacancies  are  filled  by  the  Sen 
ate  itself.  This  last  is  an  obnoxious  expedient,  and  cannot  in 
any  point  of  view  have  much  effect.  It  was  probably  meant  to 
obviate  the  trouble  of  occasional  meetings  of  the  electors.  But 
the  purpose  might  have  been  otherwise  answered  by  allowing 
the  unsuccessful  candidates  to  supply  vacancies  according  to  the 
order  of  their  standing  on  the  list  of  votes,  or  by  requiring  pro 
visional  appointments  to  be  made  along  with  the  positive  ones. 
If  an  election  by  districts  be  unavoidable,  and  the  ideas  here 
suggested  be  sound,  the  evil  will  be  diminished  in  proportion 
to  the  extent  given  to  the  districts,  taking  two  or  more  Sena 
tors  from  each  district. 

The  first  question  arising  here  is  how 

Electors.  , 

far  property  ought  to  be  made  a  qualifica 
tion.  There  is  a  middle  way  to  be  taken,  which  corresponds  at 
once  with  the  theory  of  free  government  and  the  lessons  of  ex 
perience.  A  freehold  or  equivalent  of  a  certain  value  may  be 
annexed  to  the  right  of  voting  for  Senators,  and  the  right  left 
more  at  large  in  the  election  of  the  other  House.  Examples  of 
this  distinction  may  be  found  in  the  Constitutions  of  several 
States,  particularly,  if  I  mistake  not,  of  North  Carolina  and 
New  York.  This  middle  mode  reconciles  and  secures  the  two 
cardinal  objects  of  government,  the  rights  of  persons  and  the 
rights  of  property.  The  former  will  be  sufficiently  guarded  by 
one  branch,  the  latter  more  particularly  by  the  other.  Give  all 
power  to  property,  and  the  indigent  will  be  oppressed.  Give  it 
to  the  latter,  and  the  effect  may  be  transposed.  Give  a  defen 
sive  share  to  each,  and  each  will  be  secure.  The  necessity  of 
thus  guarding  the  rights  of  property  was,  for  obvious  reasons, 
unattended  to  in  the  commencement  of  the  Revolution.  In  all 
the  governments  which  were  considered  as  beacons  to  republi- 

138  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

can  patriots  and  lawgivers,  the  rights  of  persons  were  subjected 
to  those  of  property.  The  poor  were  sacrificed  to  the  rich.  In 
the  existing  state  of  American  population  and  of  American 
property,  the  two  classes  of  rights  were  so  little  discriminated, 
that  a  provision  for  the  rights  of  persons  was  supposed  to  in 
clude  of  itself  those  of  property;  and  it  was  natural  to  infer, 
from  the  tendency  of  republican  laws,  that  these  different  inter 
ests  would  be  more  and  more  identified.  Experience  and  in 
vestigation  have,  however,  produced  more  correct  ideas  on  this 
subject.  It  is  now  observed  that  in  all  populous  countries  the 
smaller  part  only  can  be  interested  in  preserving  the  rights  of 
property.  It  must  be  foreseen  that  America,  and  Kentucky  it 
self,  will  by  degrees  arrive  at  this  state  of  society;  that  in  some 
parts  of  the  Union  a  very  great  advance  is  already  made  to 
wards  it.  It  is  well  understood  that  interest  leads  to  injustice, 
as  well  where  the  opportunity  is  presented  to  bodies  of  men  as 
to  individuals;  to  an  interested  majority  in  a  Republic,  as  to 
the  interested  minority  in  any  other  form  of  government.  The 
time  to  guard  against  this  danger  is  at  the  first  forming  of  the 
Constitution,  and  in  the  present  state  of  population,  when  the 
bulk  of  the  people  have  a  sufficient  interest  in  possession  or  in 
prospect  to  be  attached  to  the  rights  of  property,  without  being 
insufficiently  attached  to  the  rights  of  persons.  Liberty,  not 
less  than  justice,  pleads  for  the  policy  here  recommended.  If 
all  power  be  suffered  to  slide  into  hands  not  interested  in  the 
rights  of  property,  which  must  be  the  case  whenever  a  majority 
fall  under  that  description,  one  of  two  things  cannot  fail  to  hap 
pen;  either  they  will  unite  against  the  other  description  and 
become  the  dupes  and  instruments  of  ambition,  or  their  poverty 
and  dependence  will  render  them  the  mercenary  instruments  of 
wealth.  In  either  case  liberty  will  be  subverted:  in  the  first, 
by  a  despotism  growing  out  of  anarchy;  in  the  second,  by  an 
oligarchy  founded  on  corruption. 

The  second  question  under  this  head  is,  whether  the  ballot 
be  not  a  better  mode  than  that  of  voting  viva  voce.  The  com 
parative  experience  of  the  States  pursuing  the  different  modes 

178>.  JEFFERSON'S    DRAUGHT,    ETC.  189 

is  in  favor  of  the  first.  It  is  found  less  difficult  to  guard  against 
fraud  in  that  than  against  bribery  in  the  other. 

Does  not  the  exclusion  of  Ministers  of 
the  Gospel,  as  such,  violate  a  fundamental 
principle  of  liberty,  by  punishing  a  religious  profession  with  the 
privation  of  a  civil  right?  Does  it  not  violate  another  article 
of  the  plan  itself,  which  exempts  religion  from  the  cognizance 
of  Civil  power?  Does  it  not  violate  justice,  by  at  once  taking 
away  a  right  and  prohibiting  a  compensation  for  it?  Does  it 
not,  in  line,  violate  impartiality,  by  shutting  the  door  against  the 
Ministers  of  one  religion  and  leaving  it  open  for  those  of  every 

The  re-eligibility  of  members  after  accepting  offices  of  profit 
is  so  much  opposed  to  the  present  way  of  thinking  in  America, 
that  any  discussion  of  the  subject  would  probably  be  a  waste  of 

It  is  at  least  questionable  whether  death 

Limits  of  power.  i  .        i  r>       T    ,  -, 

ought  to  be  confined  to  treason  and  mur 
der."  It  would  not,  therefore,  be  prudent  to  tie  the  hands  of 
government  in  the  manner  here  proposed.  The  prohibition  of 
pardon,  however  specious  in  theory,  would  have  practical  con 
sequences  which  render  it  inadmissible.  A  single  instance  is  a 
sufficient  proof.  The  crime  of  treason  is  generally  shared  by  a 
number,  and  often  a  very  great  number.  It  would  be  politically 
if  not  morally  wrong  to  take  away  the  lives  of  all,  even  if  every 
individual  were  equally  guilty.  What  name  would  be  given  to 
a  severity  which  made  no  distinction  between  the  legal  and  the 
moral  offence;  between  the  deluded  multitude  and  their  wicked 
leaders?  A  second  trial  would  not  avoid  the  difficulty:  because 
the  oaths  of  the  jury  would  not  permit  them  to  hearken  to  any 
voice  but  the  inexorable  voice  of  the  law. 

The  power  of  the  Legislature  to  appoint  any  other  than  their 
own  officers  departs  too  far  from  the  theory  which  requires  a 
separation  of  the  great  departments  of  government.  One  of  the 
best  securities  against  the  creation  of  unnecessary  offices  or  ty 
rannical  powers  is  an  exclusion  of  the  authors  from  all  share 
in  filling  the  one,  or  influence  in  the  execution  of  the  other. 

190  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

The  proper  mode  of  appointing  to  offices  will  fall  under  another 

An  election  by  the  Legislature  is  liable 

Executive  Governor.  .  J  ' 

to  insuperable  objections.  It  not  only 
tends  to  faction,  intrigue,  and  corruption,  but  leaves  the  Exec 
utive  under  the  influence  of  an  improper  obligation  to  that  De 
partment.  An  election  by  the  people  at  large,  as  in  this*  and 
several  other  States,  or  by  electors,  as  in  the  appointment  of 
the  Senate  in  Maryland,  or,  indeed,  by  the  people,  thro'  any  other 
channel  than  their  legislative  representatives,  seems  to  be  far 
preferable.  The  ineligibility  a  second  time,  tho'  not  perhaps 
without  advantages,  is  also  liable  to  a  variety  of  strong  objec 
tions.  It  takes  away  one  powerful  motive  to  a  faithful  and 
useful  administration,  the  desire  of  acquiring  that  title  to  a  re- 
appointment.  By  rendering  a  periodical  change  of  men  neces 
sary,  it  discourages  beneficial  undertakings,  which  require  per 
severance  and  system,  or,  as  frequently  happened  in  the  Roman 
Consulate,  either  precipitates  or  prevents  the  execution  of  them. 
It  may  inspire  desperate  enterprises  for  the  attainment  of  what 
is  not  attainable  by  legitimate  means.  It  fetters  the  judgment 
and  inclination  of  the  community;  and  in  critical  moments 
would  either  produce  a  violation  of  the  Constitution  or  exclude 
a  choice  which  might  be  essential  to  the  public  safety.  Add  to 
the  whole,  that  by  putting  the  Executive  Magistrate  in  the  sit 
uation  o.f  the  tenant  of  an  unrenewable  lease,  it  would  tempt 
him  to  neglect  the  constitutional  rights  of  his  department,  and 
to  connive  at  usurpations  by  the  Legislative  department,  with 
which  he  may  connect  his  future  ambition  or  interest. 

The  clause  restraining  the  first  magistrate  from  the  immedi 
ate  command  of  the  military  force  would  be  made  better  by 
excepting  cases  in  which  he  should  receive  the  sanction  of  the 
two  branches  of  the  Legislature. 

Council  of  State.  The  following  variations  are  suggested : 

1.  The  election  to  be  made  by  the  people 

immediately,  or  thro'  some  other  medium  than  the  Legislature. 

*  New  York,  where  these  remarks  were  penned. 

ITS.').  JEFFERSON'S    DRAUGHT,    ETC.  191 

2.  A  distributive  choice  should  perhaps  be  secured,  as  in  the 
case  of  the  Senate.  3.  Instead  of  an  ineligibility  a  second 
time,  a  rotation  in  the  Federal  Senate,  with  an  abridgment  of 
the  term,  to  be  substituted. 

The  appointment  to  offices  is,  of  all  the  functions  of  Republi 
can,  and  perhaps  every  other  form  of  government,  the  most  dif 
ficult  to  guard  against  abuse.  Give  it  to  a  numerous  body,  and 
you  at  once  destroy  all  responsibility,  and  create  a  perpetual 
source  of  faction  and  corruption.  Give  it  to  the  Executive 
wholly,  and  it  may  be  made  an  engine  of  improper  influence  and 
favoritism.  Suppose  the  power  were  divided  thus :  let  the  Ex 
ecutive  alone  make  all  the  subordinate  appointments,  and  the 
Governor  and  Seriate,  as  in  the  Federal  Constitution,  those  of 
the  superior  order.  It  seems  particularly  fit  that  the  Judges, 
who  are  to  form  a  distinct  department,  should  owe  their  offices 
partly  to  each  of  the  other  departments,  rather  than  wholly  to 

.  Much  detail  ought  to  be  avoided  in  the 

Constitutional  regulation  of  this  Depart 
ment,  that  there  may  be  room  for  changes  which  may  be  de 
manded  by  the  progressive  changes  in  the  state  of  our  popula 
tion.  It  is  at  least  doubtful  whether  the  number  of  courts,  the 
number  of  Judges,  or  even  the  boundaries  of  jurisdiction,  ought 
to  be  made  unalterable  but  by  a  revisal  of  the  Constitution. 
The  precaution  seems  no  otherwise  necessary  than  as  it  may 
prevent  sudden  modifications  of  the  establishment,  or  addition 
of  obsequious  judges,  for  the  purpose  of  evading  the  checks  of 
the  Constitution  and  giving  effect  to  some  sinister  policy  of  the 
Legislature.  But  might  not  the  same  object  be  otherwise  at 
tained?  by  prohibiting,  for  example,  any  innovations  in  those 
particulars  without  the  consent  of  that  department?  or  without 
the  annual  sanction  of  two  or  three  successive  Assemblies,  over 
and  above  the  other  pre-requisites  to  the  passage  of  a  law  ? 

The  model  here  proposed  for  a  Court  of  Appeals  is  not  rec 
ommended  by  experience.  It  is  found,  as  might  well  be  pre 
sumed,  that  the  members  are  always  warped  in  their  appellate 
decisions  by  an  attachment  to  the  principles  and  jurisdiction  of 

192  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178'.. 

their  respective  Courts,  and  still  more  so  by  the  previous  de 
cision  on  the  case  removed  by  appeal.  The  only  efficient  cure 
for  the  evil  is  to  form  a  Court  of  Appeals  of  distinct  and  select 
Judges.  The  expense  ought  not  to  be  admitted  as  an  objection : 
1.  Because  the  proper  administration  of  justice  is  of  too  essen 
tial  a  nature  to  be  sacrificed  to  that  consideration.  2.  The 
number  of  inferior  judges  might,  in  that  case,  be  lessened.  3. 
The  whole  department  may  be  made  to  support  itself  by  a  judi 
cious  tax  on  law  proceedings. 

The  excuse  for  non-attendance  would  be  a  more  proper  sub 
ject  of  enquiry  somewhere  else  than  in  the  Court  to  which  the 
party  belonged.  Delicacy,  mutual  convenience,  &c.,  would  soon 
reduce  the  regulation  to  mere  form;  or  if  not,  it  might  become 
a  disagreeable  source  of  little  irritations  among  the  members. 
A  certificate  from  the  local  Court,  or  some  other  local  author 
ity,  where  the  party  might  reside  or  happen  to  be  detained  from 
his  duty,  expressing  the  cause  of  absence,  as  well  as  that  it  was 
judged  to  be  satisfactory,  might  be  safely  substituted.  Few 
Judges  would  improperly  claim  their  wages  if  such  a  formality 
stood  in  the  way.  These  observations  are  applicable  to  the 
Council  of  State. 

A  Court  of  Impeachment  is  among  the  most  puzzling  articles 
of  a  Republican  Constitution;  and  it  is  far  more  easy  to  point 
out  defects  in  any  plan  than  to  supply  a  cure  for  them.  The 
diversified  expedients  adopted  in  the  Constitutions  of  the  sev 
eral  States  prove  how  much  the  compilers  were  embarrassed  on 
this  subject.  The  plan  here  proposed  varies  from  all  of  them, 
and  is,  perhaps,  not  less  than  any,  a  proof  of  the  difficulties 
which  pressed  the  ingenuity  of  its  author.  The  remarks  arising 
on  it  are:  1.  That  it  seems  not  to  square  with  reason  that  the 
right  to  impeach  should  be  united  to  that  of  trying  the  impeach 
ment,  and  consequently,  in  a  proportional  degree,  to  that  of 
sharing  in  the  appointment  of  or  influence  on  the  Tribunal  to 
which  the  trial  may  belong.  2.  As  the  Executive  and  Judi 
ciary  would  form  a  majority  of  the  Court,  and  either  have  a 
right  to  impeach,  too  much  might  depend  on  a  combiuation  of 
these  departments.  This  objection  would  be  still  stronger  if 

1785.  JEFFERSON'S    DRAUGHT,    ETC.  193 

the  members  of  the  Assembly  were  capable,  as  proposed,  of 
holding  offices,  and  were  amenable  in  that  capacity  to  the 
Court.  3.  The  House  of  Delegates  and  either  of  those  depart 
ments  could  appoint  a  majority  of  the  Court.  Here  is  another 
danger  of  combination,  and  the  more  to  be  apprehended,  as  that 
branch  of  the  Legislature  would  also  have  the  right  to  impeach, 
a  right  in  their  hands  of  itself  sufficiently  weighty;  and  as  the 
power  of  the  Court  would  extend  to  the  head  of  the  Executive, 
by  whose  independence  the  constitutional  rights  of  that  Depart 
ment  are  to  be  secured  against  legislative  usurpations.  4.  The 
dangers  in  the  two  last  cases  would  be  still  more  formidable, 
as  the  power  extends  not  only  to  deprivation,  but  to  future  in 
capacity  of  office.  In  the  case  of  all  officers  of  sufficient  impor 
tance  to  be  objects  of  factious  persecution,  the  latter  branch  of 
power  is,  in  every  view,  of  a  delicate  nature.  In  that  of  the 
Chief  Magistrate,  it  seems  inadmissible  if  he  be  chosen  by  the 
Legislature,  and  much  more  so  if  immediately  by  the  people 
themselves.  A.  temporary  incapacitation  is  the  most  that  could 
be  properly  authorised. 

The  two  great  desiderata  in  a  Court  of  Impeachments  are: 
1.  Impartiality.  2.  Respectability;  the  first  in  order  to  a  right, 
the  second  in  order  to  a  satisfactory  decision.  These  character 
istics  are  aimed  at  in  the  following  modification:  Let  the  Sen 
ate  be  denied  the  right  to  impeach.  Let  one-third  of  the  mem 
bers  be  struck  out,  by  alternate  nominations  of  the  prosecutors 
and  party  impeached;  the  remaining  two-thirds  to  be  the  stamen 
of  the  Court.  When  the  House  of  Delegates  impeach,  let  the 
Judges,  or  a  certain  proportion  of  them,  and  the  Council  of 
State,  be  associated  in  the  trial;  when  the  Governor  or  Council 
impeaches,  let  the  Judges  only  be  associated;  when  the  Judges 
impeach,  let  the  Council  only  be  associated.  But  if  the  party 
impeached  by  the  House  of  Delegates  be  a  member  of  the  Ex 
ecutive  or  Judiciary,  let  that  of  which  he  is  a  member  not 
be  associated.  If  the  party  impeached  belong  to  one  and 
be  impeached  by  the  other  of  these  branches,  let  neither  of 
them  be  associated,  the  decision  being  in  this  case  left  with  the 
Senate  alone;  or  if  that  be  thought  exceptionable,  a  few  mem- 

VOL.  i.  13 

194  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785 

bers  might  be  added  by  the  House  of  Delegates.  Two-thirds 
of  the  Court  should  in  all  cases  be  necessary  to  a  conviction, 
and  the  Chief  Magistrate,  at  least,  should  be  exempt  from  a  sen 
tence  of  perpetual,  if  not  of  temporary  incapacity.  It  is  ex 
tremely  probable  that  a  critical  discussion  of  this  outline  may 
discover  objections  which  do  not  occur.  Some  do  occur;  but 
appear  not  to  be  greater  than  are  incident  to  any  different  mod 
ification  of  the  Tribunal. 

The  establishment  of  trials  by  jury  and  viva  voce  testimony, 
in  all  cases  and  in  all  Courts,  is,  to  say  the  least,  a  delicate  ex 
periment;  and  would  most  probably  be  either  violated,  or  be 
found  inconvenient. 

A  revisionary  power  is  meant  as  a  check 

Council  of  Revision.  . 

to  precipitate,  to  unjust,  and  to  unconsti 
tutional  laws.  These  important  ends  would,  it  is  conceded,  be 
more  effectually  secured,  without  disarming  the  Legislature  of 
its  requisite  authority,  by  requiring  bills  to  be  separately  com 
municated  to  the  Executive  and  Judiciary  departments.  If 
either  of  these  object,  let  two-thirds,  if  both,  three-fourths,  of 
each  House  be  necessary  to  overrule  the  objection;  and  if  either 
or  both  protest  against  a  bill  as  violating  the  Constitution,  let 
it  moreover  be  suspended,  notwithstanding  the  overruling  pro 
portion  of  the  Assembly,  until  there  shall  have  been  a  subse 
quent  election  of  the  House  of  Delegates  and  a  re-passage  of 
the  bill  by  two-thirds  or  three-fourths  of  both  houses,  as  the  case 
may  be.  It  should  not  be  allowed  the  Judges  or  the  Executive 
to  pronounce  a  law  thus  enacted  unconstitutional  and  invalid. 

In  the  State  Constitutions,  and,  indeed,  in  the  Federal  one 
also,  no  provision  is  made  for  the  case  of  a  disagreement  in  ex 
pounding  them;  and  as  the  Courts  are  generally  the  last  in 
making  the  decision,  it  results  to  them,  by  refusing  or  not  re 
fusing  to  execute  a  law,  to  stamp  it  with  its  final  character. 
This  makes  the  Judiciary  department  paramount  in  fact  to  the 
Legislature,  which  was  never  intended  and  can  never  be  proper. 

The  extension  of  the  Habeas  Corpus  to  the  cases  in  which  it 
has  been  usually  suspended  merits  consideration  at  least.  If 
there  be  emergencies  which  call  for  such  a  suspension,  it  can 

1785.  LETTERS.  195 

have  no  effect  to  prohibit  it,  because  the  prohibition  will  as 
suredly  give  way  to  the  impulse  of  the  moment;  or  rather,  it 
will  have  the  bad  effect  of  facilitating  other  violations  that  may 
be  less  necessary.  The  exemption  of  the  press  from  liability  in 
every  case  for  true  facts  is  also  an  innovation,  and,  as  such, 
ought  to  be  well  considered.  This  essential  branch  of  liberty 
is,  perhaps,  in  more  danger  of  being  interrupted  by  local  tumults, 
or  the  silent  awe  of  a  predominant  party,  than  by  any  direct 
attacks  of  power. 


PHILADELPHIA,  October  3d,  1785. 

DEAR  Sra, — In  pursuance  of  the  plan  intimated  in  my  last,  I 
came  to  this  city  about  three  weeks  ago,  from  which  I  contin 
ued  my  trip  to  New  York.  I  returned  last  night,  and  in  a  day 
or  two  shall  start  for  Virginia.  Col.  Monroe  had  left  Phil 
adelphia  a  few  days  before  I  reached  it,  on  his  way  to  a  treaty 
to  be  held  with  the  Indians  about  the  end  of  this  month  on  the 
Wabash.  If  a  visit  to  the  Eastern  States  had  been  his  choice, 
short  as  the  time  would  have  proved,  I  should  have  made  an 
effort  to  attend  him.  As  it  is,  I  must  postpone  that  gratifica 
tion,  with  a  purpose,  however,  of  embracing  it  on  the  first  con 
venient  opportunity. 

Your  favor  of  the  11  May,  by  Monsr  Doradour,  inclosing 
your  cypher,  arrived  in  Virginia  after  I  left  it,  and  was  sent 
after  me  to  this  place.  Your  notes  which  accompanied  it  re 
mained  behind,  and  consequently  I  can  only  now  say  on  that 
subject  that  I  shall  obey  your  request  on  my  return,  which  iny 
call  to  Richmond  will  give  me  an  early  opportunity  of  doing. 

During  my  stay  at  New  York  I  had  several  conversations 
with  the  Virginia  Delegates,  but  with  few  others,  on  the  affairs 
of  the  confederacy.  I  find  with  much  regret  that  these  are,  as 
yet,  little  redeemed  from  the  confusion  which  has  so  long  mor 
tified  the  friends  to  our  national  honor  and  prosperity.  Con 
gress  have  kept  the  vessel  from  sinking,  but  it  has  been  by 

196  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

standing  constantly  at  the  pump,  not  by  stopping  the  leaks 
which  have  endangered  her.  All  their  efforts  for  the  latter 
purpose  have  been  frustrated  by  the  selfishness  or  perverseness 
of  some  part  or  other  of  their  constituents.  The  desiderata 
most  strongly  urged  by  our  past  experience  and  our  present 
situation  are:  1.  A  final  discrimination  between  such  of  the 
unauthorised  expences  of  the  States  as  ought  to  be  added  to  the 
common  debt,  and  such  as  ought  not.  2.  A  constitutional  ap 
portionment  of  the  common  debt,  either  by  a  valuation  of  the 
lands,  or  a  change  of  the  article  which  requires  it.  3.  A  rec 
ognition  by  the  States  of  the  authority  of  Congress  to  enforce 
payment  of  their  respective  quotas.  4.  A  grant  to  Congress 
of  an  adequate  power  over  trade. 

It  is  evident  to  me  that  the  first  object  will  never  be  effected 
in  Congress,  because  it  requires  in  those  who  are  to  decide  it 
the  spirit  of  impartial  judges,  whilst  the  spirit  of  those  who 
compose  Congress  is  rather  that  of  advocates  for  the  respective 
interests  of  their  constituents.  If  this  business  were  referred 
to  a  commission  filled  by  a  member  chosen  by  Congress  out  of 
each  State,  and  sworn  to  impartiality,  I  should  have  hopes  of 
seeing  an  end  of  it.  The  2d  object  affords  less  ground  of  hope. 
The  execution  of  the  8th  article  of  Confederation  is  generally 
held  impracticable,  and  Rhode  Island,  if  no  other  State,  has  put 
its  veto  on  the  proposed  alteration  of  it.  Until  the  3d  object 
can  be  obtained,  the  Requisitions  of  Congress  will  continue  to 
be  mere  calls  for  voluntary  contributions,  which  every  State 
will  be  tempted  to  evade,  by  the  uniform  experience  that  those 
States  have  come  off  best  which  have  done  so  most.  The  pres 
ent  plan  of  federal  Government  reverses  the  first  principle  of 
all  Government.  It  punishes  not  the  evil-doers,  but  those  that 
do  well.  It  may  be  considered,  I  think,  as  a  fortunate  circum 
stance  for  the  United  States,  that  the  use  of  coercion,  or  such 
provision  as  would  render  the  use  of  it  unnecessary,  might  be 
made  at  little  expence  and  perfect  safety.  A  single  frigate 
under  the  orders  of  Congress  could  make  it  the  interest  of  any 
one  of  the  Atlantic  States  to  pay  its  just  quota.  With  regard 
to  such  of  the  ultramontane  States  as  depend  on  the  trade  of 

1785.  LETTERS.  197 

the  Mississippi,  as  small  a  force  would  have  the  same  effect; 
whilst  the  residue  trading  through  the  Atlantic  States  might  be 
wrought  upon  by  means  more  indirect,  indeed,  but  perhaps  suf 
ficiently  effectual. 

The  fate  of  the  4tb  object  is  still  suspended.  The  Recom 
mendations  of  Congress  on  this  subject,  past  before  your  depart 
ure,  have  been  positively  complied  with  by  few  of  the  States,  I 
believe;  but  I  do  not  learn  that  they  have  been  rejected  by  any. 
A  proposition  has  been  agitated  in  Congress,  and  will,  I  am 
told,  be  revived,  asking  from  the  States  a  general  and  perma 
nent  authority  to  regulate  trade,  with  a  proviso  that  it  shall  in 
no  case  be  exercised  without  the  assent  of  eleven  States  in  Con 
gress.  The  Middle  States  favor  the  measure;  the  Eastern  are 
zealous  for  it;  the  Southern  are  divided.  Of  the  Virginia  del 
egation,  the  president*  is  an  inflexible  adversary,  Grayson  un 
friendly,  and  Monroe  and  Hardy  warm  on  the  opposite  side. 
If  the  proposition  should  pass  Congress,  its  fate  will  depend 
much  on  the  reception  it  may  find  in  Virginia,  and  this  will  de 
pend  much  on  the  part  which  may  be  taken  by  a  few  members 
of  the  Legislature.  The  prospect  of  its  being  levelled  against 
Great  Britain  will  be  most  likely  to  give  it  popularity. 

In  this  suspence  of  a  general  provision  for  our  commercial 
interests,  the  more  suffering  States  are  seeking  relief  from  par 
tial  efforts,  which  are  less  likely  to  obtain  it  than  to  drive  their 
trade  into  other  channels,  and  to  kindle  heart-burnings  on  all 
sides.  Massachusetts  made  the  beginning;  Pennsylvania  has 
followed  with  a  catalogue  of  duties  on  foreign  goods  and  ton 
nage,  which  could  scarcely  be  enforced  against  the  smuggler,  if 
New  Jersey,  Delaware,  and  Maryland,  were  to  co-operate  with 
her.  The  avowed  object  of  these  duties  is  to  encourage  domes 
tic  manufactures,  and  prevent  the  exportation  of  coin  to  pay 
for  foreign.  The  Legislature  had  previously  repealed  the  in 
corporation  of  the  Bank,  as  the  cause  of  the  latter  and  a  great 
many  other  evils.  South  Carolina,  I  am  told,  is  deliberating 
on  the  distresses  of  her  commerce,  and  will  probably  concur  in 

*  R.  H.  Lee. 

198  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

some  general  plan,  with  a  proviso,  no  doubt,  against  any  re 
straint  from  importing  slaves,  of  which  they  have  received  from 
Africa  since  the  peace  about  twelve  Thousand.  She  is  also  de 
liberating  on  the  emission  of  paper  money,  and  it  is  expected 
she  will  legalize  a  supension  of  Judicial  proceedings,  which  has 
been  already  effected  by  popular  combinations.  The  pretext 
for  these  measures  is  the  want  of  specie  occasioned  by  the  un 
favorable  balance  of  trade. 

Your  introduction  of  Mr.  T.  Franklin  has  been  presented  to 
me.  The  arrival  of  his  Grandfather  has  produced  an  emulation 
among  the  different  parties  here  in  doing  homage  to  his  char 
acter.  He  will  be  unanimously  chosen  president  of  the  State, 
and  will  either  restore  to  it  an  unexpected  quiet  or  lose  his 
own.  It  appears,  from  his  answer  to  some  applications,  that  he 
will  not  decline  the  appointment. 

On  my  journey  I  called  at  Mount  Vernon,  and  had  the  pleas 
ure  of  finding  the  General  in  perfect  health.  He  had  just  re 
turned  from  a  trip  up  the  Potomac.  He  grows  more  and  more 
sanguine  as  he  examines  further  into  the  practicability  of  open 
ing  its  navigation.  The  subscriptions  are  completed  within  a 
few  shares,  and  the  work  is  already  begun  at  some  of  the  lesser 
obstructions.  It  is  overlooked  by  Rumsey,  the  inventor  of  the 
boats,  which  I  have  in  former  letters  mentioned  to  you.  He 
has  not  yet  disclosed  his  secret.  He  had  of  late  nearly  finished 
a  boat  of  proper  size,  which  he  meant  to  have  exhibited,  but  the 
House  which  contained  it  and  materials  for  others  was  con 
sumed  by  fire.  He  assured  the  General  that  the  enlargement 
of  his  machinery  did  not  lessen  the  prospect  of  utility  afforded 
by  the  miniature  experiments.  The  General  declines  the  shares 
voted  him  by  the  Assembly,  but  does  not  mean  to  withdraw  the 
money  from  the  object  which  it  is  to  aid,  and  will  even  appro 
priate  the  future  tolls,  I  believe,  to  some  useful  public  estab 
lishment,  if  any  such  can  be  devised  that  will  both  please  him 
self  and  be  likely  to  please  the  State. 

This  is  accompanied  by  a  letter  from  our  amiable  friend,  Mrs. 
Trist,  to  Miss  Patsy.  She  got  back  safe  to  her  friends  in  Au 
gust,  and  is  as  well  as  she  has  generally  been;  but  her  cheerful- 

1785.  LETTERS.  199 

ness  seems  to  be  rendered  less  uniform  than  it  once  was  by  the 
scenes  of  adversity  through  which  fortune  has  led  her.  Mrs. 
House  is  well,  and  charges  me  not  to  omit  her  respectful  ana 
affectionate  compliments  to  you. 

I  remain,  dear  sir,  yours. 


RICHMOND,  Novr  llth,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  your  favor  of  the  29th  ultimo  on  Thurs 
day.  That  by  Col.  Lee  had  been  previously  delivered.  Your 
letter  for  the  Assembly  was  laid  before  them  yesterday.  I  have 
reason  to  believe  that  it  was  received  with  every  sentiment 
which  could  correspond  with  yours.  Nothing  passed  from  which 
any  conjecture  could  be  formed  as  to  the  objects  which  would 
be  most  pleasing  for  the  appropriation  of  the  fund.  The  dispo 
sition  is,  I  am  persuaded,  much  stronger  to  acquiesce  in  your 
choice,  whatever  it  may  be,  than  to  lead  or  anticipate  it.  I  see 
no  inconveniency  in  your  taking  time  for  a  choice  that  will 
please  yourself.  The  letter  was  referred  to  a  committee,  which 
will  no  doubt  make  such  a  report  as  will  give  effect  to  your 

Our  Session  commenced  very  inauspiciously  with  a  contest 
for  the  chair,  which  was  followed  by  a  rigid  scrutiny  into  Mr. 
Harrison's  election  in  his  County.  He  gained  the  chair  by  a 
majority  of  six  votes,  and  retained  his  seat  by  a  majority  of  still 
fewer.  His  residence  was  the  point  on  which  the  latter  ques 
tion  turned.  Doctor  Lee's  election  was  questioned  on  a  simi 
lar  point,  and  was  also  established;  but  it  was  held  to  be  va 
cated  by  his  acceptance  of  a  lucrative  post  under  the  United 
States.  The  House  have  engaged  with  some  alacrity  in  the 
consideration  of  the  Revised  Code,  prepared  by  Mr.  Jefferson. 
Mr.  Pendleton,  and  Mr.  Wythe.  The  present  temper  promises 
an  adoption  of  it  in  substance.  The  greatest  danger  arises 
from  its  length,  compared  with  the  patience  of  the  members.  If 

200  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

it  is  persisted  in,  it  must  exclude  several  matters  which  are  of 
moment,  but,  I  hope,  only  for  the  present  Assembly.  The  pulse 
of  the  House  of  Delegates  was  felt  on  Thursday  with  regard  to 
a  general  manumission,  by  a  petition  presented  on  that  subject. 
It  was  rejected  without  dissent,  but  not  without  an  avowed 
patronage  of  its  principle  by  sundry  respectable  members.  A 
motion  was  made  to  throw  it  under  the  table,  which  was  treated 
with  as  much  indignation  on  one  side  as  the  petition  itself  was 
on  the  other.  There  are  several  petitions  before  the  House 
against  any  step  towards  freeing  the  Slaves,  and  even  praying 
Tor  a  repeal  of  the  law  which  licences  particular  manumissions. 

The  merchants  of  several  of  our  towns  have  made  representa 
tions  on  the  distress  of  our  commerce,  which  have  raised  the 
question  whether  relief  shall  be  attempted  by  a  reference  to 
Congress,  or  by  measures  within  our  own  compass.  On  a  pretty 
full  discussion,  it  was  determined  by  a  large  majority  that  the 
power  over  trade  ought  to  be  vested  in  Congress,  under  certain 
qualifications.  If  the  qualifications  suggested,  and  no  others, 
should  be  annexed,  I  think  they  will  not  be  subversive  of  the 
principle;  tho'  they  will,  no  doubt,  lessen  its  utility.  The 
Speaker,  Mr.  M.  Smith,  and  Mr.  Braxton,  are  the  champions 
against  Congress.  Mr.  Thruston  and  Mr.  White  have  since 
come  in,  and  I  fancy  I  may  set  down  both  as  auxiliaries. 

They  are  not  a  little  puzzled,  however,  by  the  difficulty  of 
substituting  any  practicable  regulations  within  ourselves.  Mr. 
Braxton  proposed  two,  that  did  not  much  aid  his  side  of  the 
question.  The  first  was,  that  all  British  vessels  from  the  West 
Indies  should  be  excluded  from  our  ports;  the  second,  that  no 
merchant  should  carry  on  trade  here  until  he  should  have  been 

a  resident years.  Unless  some  plan  free  from  objection 

can  be  devised  for  this  State,  its  patrons  will  be  reduced  clearly 
to  the  dilemma  of  acceding  to  a  general  one,  or  leaving  our 
trade  under  all  its  present  embarrassments.  There  was  some 
little  skirmishing  on  the  ground  of  public  faith,  which  leads  me 
to  hope  that  its  friends  have  less  to  fear  than  was  surmised. 
The  Assize  and  Port  Bills  have  not  yet  been  awakened.  Tho 
Senate  will  make  a  House  to-day  for  the  first  time. 

1785.  REGULATION    OF    COMMERCE.  201 

Inclosed  herewith  are  two  Reports  from  the  commissioners 
for  examining  the  head  of  James  River,  &c.,  and  the  ground 
between  the  waters  of  Elizabeth  River  and  North  Carolina; 
also,  a  sensible  pamphlet  said  to  be  written  by  St.  George 

[Notes  of  a  speech  made  by  Mr.  Madison  in  the  House  of  Delegates  of  Vir 
ginia,  in  the  month  of  November,  1785,  on  the  question  of  vesting  in  Congress 
the  general  power  of  regulating  commerce  for  all  the  States  :] 

I.  General  regulations  necessary,  whether  the  object  be  to — 

1.  Counteract  foreign  plans. 

2.  Encourage  ships  and  seamen. 

3.  manufactures. 

4.  Revenue. 

5.  Frugality;  [articles  of  luxury  most  easily  run  from  State 
to  State.] 

6.  Embargo's  in  war — Case  of  Delaware  in  late  war. 

II.  Necessary  to  prevent  contention  among  States. 

1.  Case  of  French  Provinces;  Neckar  says  23,000  patrols 
employed  against  internal  contrabands. 

2.  Case  of  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut. 

3.  Case  of  New  York  and  New  Jersey. 

4.  Pennsylvania  and  Delaware. 

5.  Virginia  and  Maryland,  late  regulation. 

6.  Irish  propositions. 

III.  Necessary  to  justice  and  true  policy. 

1.  Connecticut  and  New  Hampshire. 

2.  New  Jersey. 

3.  North  Carolina. 

4.  Western  Country. 

IV.  Necessary  as  a  system  convenient  and  intelligible  to  for 
eigners  trading  to  the  United  States. 

V.  Necessary  as  within  reason  of  Federal  Constitution,  the 
regulation  of  trade  being  as  impracticable  by  States  as  peace, 
war,  ambassadors,  &c. 

9Q2  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

Treaties  of  commerce  ineffectual  without  it. 

VI.  Safe  with  regard  to  the  liberties  of  the  States. 

1.  Congress  may  be  trusted  with  trade  as  well  as  war,  &c. 

2.  Power  of  Treaties  involve  the  danger,  if  any. 

3.  Controul  of  States  over  Congress. 

4.  Example  of  Amphyctionic  League,  Achaean,  <fcc.,  Switzer 
land,  Holland,  Germany. 

5.  Peculiar  situation  of  United  States  increases  the  repellant 
power  of  the  States. 

VII.  Essential  to  preserve  federal  Constitution. 

1.  Declension  of  federal  Government. 

2.  Inadequacy  to  end  must  lead  States  to  substitute  some 
other  policy — no  institution  remaining  long  when  it  ceases  to 
be  useful,  &c. 

3.  Policy  of  Great  Britain  to  weaken  Union. 

VIII.  Consequences  of  dissolution  of  confederacy. 

1.  Appeal  to  sword  in  every  petty  squabble. 

2.  Standing  armies,  beginning  with  weak  and  jealous  States. 

3.  Perpetual  taxes. 

4.  Sport  of  foreign  politics. 

5.  Blast  glory  of  Revolution. 


RICHMOND,  Nov.  15th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  acknowledged  from  Philadelphia  your  favor 
of  the  llth  May.  On  my  return  to  Orange,  I  found  the  copy 
of  your  notes  brought  along  with  it  by  Mr.  Doradour.  I  have 
looked  them  over  carefully  myself,  and  consulted  several  judi 
cious  friends  in  confidence.  We  are  all  sensible  that  the  free 
dom  of  your  strictures  on  some  particular  measures  and  opinions 
will  displease  their  respective  abettors.  But  we  equally  con 
cur  in  thinking  that  this  consideration  ought  not  to  be  weighed 
against  the  utility  of  your  plan.  We  think  both  the  facts  and 
remarks  which  you  have  assembled  too  valuable  not  to  be  made 
known,  at  least  to  those  for  whom  you  destine  them,  and  speak 

1785.  LETTERS.  203 

of  them  to  one  another  in  terms  which  I  must  not  repeat  to  y@u. 
Mr.  "Wythe  suggested  that  it  might  be  better  to  put  the  number 
you  may  allot  to  the  University  into  the  library,  rather  than  to 
distribute  them  among  the  students.  In  the  latter  case,  the 
stock  will  be  immediately  exhausted.  In  the  former,  the  dis 
cretion  of  the  professors  will  make  it  serve  the  students  as  they 
successively  come  in.  Perhaps,  too,  an  indiscriminate  gift  might 
offend  some  narrow-minded  parents. 

Mr.  Wythe  desired  me  to  present  you  with  his  most  friendly 
regards.  He  mentioned  the  difficulty  he  experiences  in  using 
his  pen  as  an  apology  for  not  giving  these  assurances  himself. 
I  postpone  my  account  of  the  Assembly  till  I  can  make  it  more 
satisfactory,  observing  only  that  we  are  at  work  on  the  Revi- 
sal,  and  I  am  not  without  hopes  of  seeing  it  pass  this  session, 
with  as  few  alterations  as  could  be  expected.  Some  are  made 
unavoidable  by  a  change  of  circumstances.  The  greatest  dan 
ger  is  to  be  apprehended  from  the  impatience  which  a  certain 
lapse  of  time  always  produces. 


RICHMOND,  December  9th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — Supposing  that  you  will  be  at  New  York  by  the 
time  this  reaches  it,  I  drop  a  few  lines  for  the  post  of  to-day. 
Mr.  Jones  tells  me  he  informed  you  that  a  substitute  had  been 
brought  forward  to  the  commercial  propositions  which  you  left 
on  the  carpet.  The  subject  has  not  since  been  called  up.  If 
any  change  has  taken  place  in  the  mind  of  the  House,  it  has  not 
been  unfavorable  to  the  idea  of  confiding  to  Congress  a  power 
over  trade.  I  am  far  from  thinking,  however,  that  a  perpetual 
power  can  be  made  palatable  at  this  time.  It  is  more  probable 
that  the  other  idea  of  a  Convention  of  Commissioners  to  An 
napolis,  from  the  States,  for  deliberating  on  the  state  of  com 
merce  and  the  degree  of  power  which  ought  to  be  lodged  in 
Congress,  will  be  attempted.  Should  it  fail  in  the  House,  it  is 
possible  that  a  revival  of  the  printed  propositions,  with  an  ex- 

204  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1783. 

tension  of  their  term  to  twenty-five  years,  will  be  thought  on 
by  those  who  contend  that  something  of  a  general  nature  ought 
to  be  done.  My  own  opinion  is  unaltered.  The  propositions 
for  a  State  effort  have  passed,  and  a  bill  is  ordered  in,  but  the 
passage  of  the  bill  will  be  a  work  of  difficulty  and  uncertainty; 
many  having  acquiesced  in  the  preliminary  stages  who  will 
strenuously  oppose  the  measure  in  its  last  stages. 

No  decisive  vote  has  been  yet  taken  on  the  assize  bill.  I 
conceive  it  to  be  in  some  danger,  but  that  the  chance  is  in  its 
favour.  The  case  of  the  British  debts  will  be  introduced  in  a 
day  or  two.  We  have  got  through  more  than  half  of  the  Revi- 
sal.  The  criminal  bill  has  been  assailed  on  all  sides.  Mr. 
Mercer  has  proclaimed  unceasing  hostility  against  it.  Some 
alterations  have  been  made,  and  others  probably  will  be  made, 
but  I  think  the  main  principle  of  it  will  finally  triumph  over  all 
opposition.  I  had  hoped  that  this  session  would  have  finished 
the  code,  but  a  vote  against  postponing  the  further  considera 
tion  of  it  till  the  next  was  carried  by  so  small  a  majority,  that 
I  perceive  it  will  be  necessary  to  contend  for  nothing  more 
than  a  few  of  the  more  important  bills,  leaving  the  residue  of 
them  for  another  year. 

My  proposed  amendment  to  the  report  on  the  Memorial  of 
Kentucky  was  agreed  to  in  a  Committee  of  the  whole  without 
alteration,  and  with  very  few  dissents.  It  lies  on  the  table  for 
the  ratification  of  the  House.  The  members  from  that  district 
have  become  extremely  cold  on  the  subject  of  an  immediate  sep 
aration.  The  half  tax  is  postponed  till  March,  and  the  Septem 
ber  tax  till  November  next.  Not  a  word  has  passed  in  the 
House  as  to  a  paper  emission.  I  wish  to  hear  from  you  on  your 
arrival  at  New  York,  and  to  receive,  in  particular,  whatever 
you  may  be  at  liberty  to  disclose  with  regard  to  the  Treaty  of 
peace,  &c.,  with  Great  Britain. 

1785.  LETTERS.  205 


RICHMOND,  December  9th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  November  30  was  received  a  few 
days  ago.  This  would  have  followed  much  earlier  the  one 
which  yours  acknowledges,  had  I  not  wished  it  to  contain  some 
final  information  relative  to  the  commercial  propositions.  The 
discussion  of  them  has  consumed  much  time,  and  though  the 
absolute  necessity  of  some  such  general  system  prevailed  over 
all  the  efforts  of  its  adversaries  in  the  first  instance,  the  strata 
gem  of  limiting  its  duration  to  a  short  term  has  ultimately  dis 
appointed  our  hopes.  I  think  it  better  to  trust  to  further  ex 
perience,  and  even  distress,  for  an  adequate  remedy,  than  to  try 
a  temporary  measure,  which  may  stand  in  the  way  of  a  perma 
nent  one,  and  confirm  that  transatlantic  policy  which  is  founded 
on  our  supposed  distrust  of  Congress  and  of  one  another. 

Those  whose  opposition  in  this  case  did  not  spring  from  illib 
eral  animosities  towards  the  Northern  States  seem  to  have  been 
frightened,  on  one  side,  at  the  idea  of  a  perpetual  and  irrevocable 
grant  of  power,  and,  on  the  other,  nattered  with  a  hope  that  a 
temporary  grant  might  be  renewed  from  time  to  time,  if  its 
utility  should  be  confirmed  by  the  experiment.  But  we  have 
already  granted  perpetual  and  irrevocable  powers  of  a  more 
extensive  nature  than  those  now  proposed,  and  for  reasons  not 
stronger  than  the  reasons  which  urge  the  latter.  And  as  to  the 
hope  of  renewal,  it  is  the  most  visionary  one  that  perhaps  ever 
deluded  men  of  sense. 

Nothing  but  the  peculiarity  of  our  circumstances  could  ever 
have  produced  those  sacrifices  of  sovereignty  on  which  the  fed 
eral  Government  now  rests.  If  they  had  been  temporary,  and 
the  expiration  of  the  term  required  a  renewal  at  this  crisis, 
pressing  as  the  crisis  is,  and  recent  as  is  our  experience  of  the 
value  of  the  Confederacy,  sure  I  am  that  it  would  be  impossible 
to  revive  it.  What  room  have  we,  then,  to  hope  that  the  expira 
tion  of  temporary  grants  of  commercial  powers  would  always 
find  a  unanimous  disposition  in  the  States  to  follow  their  own 
example  ? 

206  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1785. 

It  ought  to  be  remembered,  too,  that  besides  the  caprice,  jeal 
ousy,  and  diversity  of  opinions,  which  will  be  certain  obstacles 
in  our  way,  the  policy  of  foreign  nations  may  hereafter  imitate 
that  of  the  Macedonian  Prince  who  effected  his  purposes  against 
the  Grecian  Confederacy  by  gaining  over  a  few  of  the  leading 
men  in  the  smaller  members  of  it.  Add  to  the  whole,  that  the 
difficulty  now  found  in  obtaining  a  unanimous  concurrence  of 
the  States  in  any  measure  whatever  must  continually  increase 
with  every  increase  of  their  numbers,  and,  perhaps,  in  a  greater 
ratio,  as  the  ultramontane  States  may  either  have,  or  suppose 
they  have,  a  less  similitude  of  interests  to  the  Atlantic  States 
than  these  have  to  one  another. 

The  propositions,  however,  have  not  yet  received  the  final 
vote  of  the  House,  having  lain  on  the  table  for  some  time  as  a 
report  from  the  committee  of  the  whole.  The  question  was  sus 
pended  in  order  to  consider  a  proposition  which  had  for  its 
object  a  meeting  of  Politico-commercial  Commissioners  from 
all  the  States,  for  the  purpose  of  digesting  and  reporting  the 
requisite  augmentation  of  the  power  of  Congress  over  trade. 

What  the  event  will  be  cannot  be  foreseen.  The  friends  of 
the  original  propositions  are,  I  am  told,  rather  increasing;  but 
I  despair  of  a  majority,  in  any  event,  for  a  longer  term  than 
25  years  for  their  duration.  The  other  scheme  will  have  fewer 
enemies,  and  may,  perhaps,  be  carried.  It  seems  naturally  to 
grow  out  of  the  proposed  appointment  of  Commissioners  for 
Virginia  and  Maryland,  concerted  at  Mount  Vernon,  for  keep 
ing  up  harmony  in  the  commercial  regulations  of  the  two  States. 
Maryland  has  ratified  the  Report;  but  has  invited  into  the  plan 
Delaware  and  Pennsylvania,  who  will  naturally  pay  the  same 
compliment  to  their  neighbours,  &c. 

Besides  the  general  propositions  on  the  subject  of  trade,  it 
has  been  proposed  that  some  intermediate  measures  should  be 
taken  by  ourselves;  and  a  sort  of  navigation  act  will,  I  am  ap 
prehensive,  be  attempted.  It  is  backed  by  the  mercantile  inter 
est  of  most  of  our  towns,  except  Alexandria,  which  alone  seems 
to  have  liberality  and  light  on  the  subject.  It  was  refused  even 
to  suspend  the  measure  on  the  concurrence  of  Maryland  or  N. 

1785.  LETTERS.  207 

Carolina.  This  folly,  however,  cannot,  one  would  think,  brave 
the  ruin  which  it  threatens  to  our  Merchants,  as  well  as  people 
at  large,  when  a  final  vote  comes  to  be  given. 

We  have  got  through  a  great  part  of  the  Revisal,  and  might 
by  this  time  have  been  at  the  end  of  it,  had  the  time  wasted  in 
disputing  whether  it  could  be  finished  at  this  session  been  spent 
in  forwarding  the  work.  As  it  is,  we  must  content  ourselves 
with  passing  a  few  more  of  the  important  Bills,  leaving  the 
residue  for  our  successors  of  the  next  year.  As  none  of  the 
Bills  passed  are  to  be  in  force  till  January,  1787,  and  the  res 
idue  unpassed  will  probably  be  least  disputable  in  their  nature, 
this  expedient,  tho'  little  eligible,  is  not  inadmissible. 

Our  public  credit  has  had  a  severe  attack  and  a  narrow 
escape.  As  a  compromise,  it  has  been  necessary  to  set  forward 
the  half  tax  till  March,  and  the  whole  tax  of  September  next 
till  November  ensuing.  The  latter  postponement  was  meant  to 
give  the  planters  more  time  to  deal  with  the  Merchants  in  the 
sale  of  their  Tobacco,  and  is  made  a  permanent  regulation. 
The  Assize  Bill  is  now  depending.  It  has  many  enemies,  and 
its  fate  is  precarious.  My  hopes,  however,  prevail  over  my  ap 
prehensions.  The  fate  of  the  Port  Bill  is  more  precarious. 
The  failure  of  an  interview  between  our  Commissioners  and 
Commissioners  on  the  part  of  North  Carolina  has  embarrassed 
the  projected  Canal  between  the  waters  of  the  two  States.  If 
North  Carolina  were  entirely  well  disposed,  the  passing  an  act 
suspended  on  and  referred  to  her  Legislature  would  be  sufficient; 
and  this  course  must,  I  suppose,  be  tried,  tho'  previous  negocia- 
tion  would  have  promised  more  certain  success. 

Kentucky  has  made  a  formal  application  for  Independence. 
Her  memorial  has  been  considered  and  the  terms  of  separation 
fixed  by  a  committee  of  the  whole.  The  substance  of  them  is, 
that  all  private  rights  and  interests  derived  from  the  laws  of 
Virginia  shall  be  secured;  that  the  unlocated  lands  shall  be  ap 
plied  to  the  objects  to  which  the  laws  of  Virginia  have  appro 
priated  them;  that  non-residents  shall  be  subjected  to  no  higher 
taxes  than  residents;  that  the  Ohio  shall  be  a  common  high 
way  for  Citizens  of  the  United  States,  and  the  jurisdiction  of 

208  WORKS    OF    MADISON  1785. 

Kentucky  and  Virginia,  as  far  as  the  remaining  territory  of 
the  latter  will  lie  thereon,  be  concurrent  only  with  the  new 
States  on  the  opposite  shore;  that  the  proposed  State  shall  take 
its  due  share  of  our  State  debts;  and  that  the  separation  shall 
not  take  place  unless  these  terms  shall  be  approved  by  a  Con 
vention  to  be  held  to  decide  the  question,  nor  until  Congress 
shall  assent  thereto,  and  fix  the  terms  of  their  admission  into 
the  Union.  The  limits  of  the  proposed  State  are  to  be  the  same 
witli  the  present  limits  of  the  District.  The  apparent  coolness 
of  the  Representatives  of  Kentucky  as  to  a  separation  since 
these  terms  have  been  defined  indicates  that  they  had  some 
views  which  will  not  be  favored  by  them.  They  disliked  much 
to  be  hung  up  on  the  will  of  Congress. 


RICHMOND,  December  24,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  proceedings  of  the  Assembly  since  my  last, 
dated  this  day  week,  have  related:  1.  To  the  Bill  for  establish 
ing  Religious  freedom  in  the  Revisal.  2.  A  Bill  concerning 
British  debts.  3.  A  Bill  concerning  the  Proprietary  interest  in 
the  Northern  neck.  4.  For  reforming  the  County  Courts.  The 
first  employed  the  House  of  Delegates  several  days,  the  pre 
amble  being  the  principal  subject  of  contention.  It  at  length 
passed  without  alteration.  The  Senate,  I  am  told,  have  ex 
changed,  after  equal  altercation,  the  preamble  of  the  revisal  for 
the  last  clause  in  the  Declaration  of  Rights;  an  exchange  which 
was  proposed  in  the  House  of  Delegates  and  negatived  by  a 
considerable  majority.  I  do  not  learn  that  they  have  made,  or 
will  make,  any  other  alteration. 

The  Bill  for  the  payment  of  British  debts  is  nearly  a  tran 
script  of  that  which  went  through  the  two  Houses  last  year,  ex 
cept  that  it  leaves  the  periods  of  instalment  blank,  and  gives  the 
creditor  an  opportunity  of  taking  immediate  execution  for  the 
whole  debt,  if  the  debtor  refuses  to  give  security  for  complying 
with  the  instalments.  The  Bill  was  near  being  put  off  to  the 

1781.  LETTERS.   ^  209 

next  session  on  the  second  reading.  A  majority  were  for  it; 
but  having  got  inadvertently  into  a  hobble,  from  the  manner  in 
which  the  question  was  put,  the  result  was,  that  Monday  next 
should  be  appointed  for  its  consideration.  The  arrival  and 
sentiments  of  Col.  Grayson  will  be  favorable  to  some  provision 
on  the  subject.  A  clause  is  annexed  to  the  Bill  authorising  the 
Executive  to  suspend  its  operation,  in  case  Congress  shall  sig 
nify  the  policy  of  so  doing.  The  general  cry  is,  that  the  Treaty 
ought  not  to  be  executed  here  until  the  posts  are  surrendered, 
and  an  attempt  will  be  made  to  suspend  the  operation  of  the 
Bill  on  that  event,  or,  at  least,  on  the  event  of  a  positive  dec 
laration  from  Congress  that  it  ought  to  be  put  in  force.  The 
last  mode  will  probably  be  fixed  on,  notwithstanding  its  depar 
ture  from  the  regular  course  of  proceeding,  and  the  embarrass 
ment  in  which  it  may  place  Congress. 

The  Bill  for  reforming  the  County  Courts  proposes  to  select 
five  Justices,  who  are  to  sit  quarterly,  be  paid  scantily,  and  to 
possess  the  civil  jurisdiction  of  the  County  courts,  and  the  crim 
inal  jurisdiction  of  the  General  Court,  under  certain  restric 
tions.  It  is  meant  as  a  substitute  for  the  Assize  system,  to  all 
the  objections  against  which  it  is  liable,  without  possessing  its 
advantages.  It  is  uncertain  whether  it  will  pass  at  all,  or  what 
form  it  will  finally  take.  I  am  inclined  to  think  it  will  be 
thrown  out.  The  Bill  relating  to  the  Northern  Neck  passed 
the  House  of  Delegates  yesterday.  It  removes  the  records  into 
the  Land  office  here,  assimilates  locations  of  surplus  land  to  the 
general  plan,  and  abolishes  the  Quit-rent.  It  was  suggested 
that  the  latter  point  was  of  a  judiciary  nature,  that  it  involved 
questions  of  fact,  of  law,  and  of  the  Treaty  of  peace,  and  that 
the  representatives  of  the  late  proprietor  ought  at  least  to  be 
previously  heard,  according  to  the  request  of  their  Agent.  Very 
little  attention  was  paid  to  these  considerations,  and  the  bill 
passed  almost  unanimously. 

VOL.    I.  14 

210  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1735. 


RICHMOND,  Decp  30th,  1785. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  past  week  has  been  rendered  important  by 
nothing  but  some  discussions  on  the  subject  of  British  debts. 
The  bill  brought  in  varied  from  that  which  miscarried  last 
year:  1.  By  adding  provision  in  favor  of  the  creditors  for  secu 
ring  payment  at  the  dates  of  the  instalments.  2.  By  annexing 
a  clause  empowering  the  Executive  to  suspend  the  operation  of 
the  act  in  case  Congress  should  notify  their  wish  to  that  effect. 
Great  difficulty  was  found  in  drawing  the  House  into  Commit 
tee  on  the  subject.  It  was  at  length  effected  on  Wednesday. 
The  changes  made  in  the  Bill  by  the  Committee  are:  1.  Stri 
king  out  the  clause  saving  the  Creditors  from  the  act  of  limita 
tion,  which  makes  the  whole  a  scene  of  mockery.  2.  Striking 
out  the  provision  for  securities.  3.  Converting  the  clause  au 
thorizing  Congress  to  direct  a  suspension  of  the  act  into  a 
clause  suspending  it  until  Congress  should  notify  to  the  Execu 
tive  that  Great  Britain  had  complied  with  the  Treaty  on  her 
part,  or  that  they  were  satisfied  with  the  steps  taken  by  her  for 
evacuating  the  posts,  paying  for  Negroes,  and  for  a  full  compli 
ance  with  the  Treaty.  The  sentence  underlined  was  proposed 
as  an  amendment  to  the  amendment,  and  admitted  by  a  very 
small  majority  only.  4.  Exonerating  the  public  from  responsi 
bility  for  the  payments  into  the  Treasury  by  British  debtors 
beyond  the  real  value  of  the  liquidated  paper.  Since  these  pro 
ceedings  of  the  Committee  of  the  whole  the  subject  has  slept 
on  the  table,  no  one  having  called  for  the  report.  Being  con 
vinced  myself  that  nothing  can  be  now  done  that  will  not  ex 
tremely  dishonor  us  and  embarrass  Congress,  my  wish  is  that 
the  report  may  not  be  called  for  at  all. 

In  the  course  of  the  debates  no  pains  were  spared  to  dispar 
age  the  Treaty  by  insinuations  against  Congress,  the  Eastern 
States,  and  the  negociators  of  the  Treaty,  particularly  J.  Adams. 
These  insinuations  and  artifices  explain,  perhaps,  one  of  the 
motives  from  which  the  augmentation  of  the  federal  powers  and 
respectability  has  been  opposed. 

17  80. 

LETTERS.  211 

The  reform  of  the  County  Courts  has  dwindled  into  direc 
tions  for  going  through  the  docket  quarterly,  under  the  same 
penalties  as  now  oblige  them  to  do  their  business  monthly.  The 
experiment  has  demonstrated  the  impracticability  of  rendering 
these  courts  fit  instruments  of  Justice;  and  if  it  had  preceded 
the  Assize  Question,  would,  I  think,  have  ensured  its  success. 
Some  wish  to  renew  this  question  in  a  varied  form,  or  at  least 
under  a  varied  title,  but  the  session  is  too  near  its  period  for 
such  an  attempt.  When  it  will  end  I  know  not.  The  business 
depending  would  employ  the  House  till  March.  A  system  of 
navigation  and  commercial  regulations  for  this  State  alone  is 
before  us,  and  comprises  matter  for  a  month's  debate.  The 
compact  with  Maryland  has  been  ratified.  It  was  proposed  to 
submit  it  to  Congress  for  their  sanction,  as  being  within  the 
word  Treaty  used  in  the  Confederation.  This  was  opposed.  It 
was  then  attempted  to  transmit  it  to  our  Delegates,  to  be  by 
them  simply  laid  before  Congress.  Even  this  was  negatived  by 
a  large  majority. 


RICHMOND,  January  22d,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last,  dated  November  15th,  from  this  place, 
answered  yours  of  May  llth,  on  the  subject  of  your  printed 
notes.  I  have  since  had  opportunities  of  consulting  other 
friends  on  the  plan  you  propose,  who  concur  in  the  result  of  the 
consultations  which  I  transmitted  you.  Mr.  Wythe's  idea  seems 
to  be  generally  approved;  that  the  copies  destined  for  the  Uni 
versity  should  be  dealt  out  by  the  discretion  of  the  Professors, 
rather  than  indiscriminately  and  at  once  put  into  the  hands  of 
the  students,  which,  other  objections  apart,  would  at  once  ex 
haust  the  stock.  A  vessel  from  Havre  de  Grace  brought  me  a 
few  days  ago  two  Trunks  of  Books,  but  without  letter  or  cat 
alogue  attending  them.  I  have  forwarded  them  to  Orange 
without  examining  much  into  the  contents,  lest  I  should  miss  a 
conveyance  which  is  very  precarious  at  this  season,  and  be  de- 

212  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

prived  of  the  amusement  they  promise  me  for  the  residue  of  the 

Our  Assembly  last  night  closed  a  session  of  97  days,  during 
the  whole  of  which,  except  the  first  seven,  I  have  shared  in  the 
confinement.  It  opened  with  a  very  warm  struggle  for  the 
chair  between  Mr.  Harrison  and  Mr.  Tyler,  which  ended  in  the 
victory  of  the  former  by  a  majority  of  six  votes.  This  victory 
was  shortly  afterwards  nearly  frustrated  by  an  impeachment 
of  his  election  in  the  County  of  Surry.  Having  failed  in  his 
native  County  of  Charles  City,  he  abdicated  his  residence  there, 
removed  into  the  County  of  Surry,  where  he  had  an  estate,  took 
every  step  which  the  interval  would  admit  to  constitute  him 
self  an  inhabitant,  and  was,  in  consequence,  elected  a  represent 
ative.  A  charge  of  non-residence  was,  nevertheless,  brought 
against  him,  decided  against  him  in  the  committee  of  privileges 
by  the  casting  vote  of  the  Chairman,  and  reversed  in  the  House 
by  a  very  small  majority.  The  election  of  Doctor  Lee  was  at 
tacked  on  two  grounds:  1st,  of  non-residence;  2dly,  of  holding  a 
lucrative  office  under  Congress.  On  the  1st  he  was  acquitted; 
on  the  2d,  expelled  by  a  large  majority. 

The  revised  Code  was  brought  forward  prettly  early  in  the 
session.  It  was  first  referred  to  Committee  of  Courts  of  Jus 
tice,  to  report  such  of  the  bills  as  were  not  of  a  temporary  na 
ture,  and,  on  their  report,  committed  to  committee  of  the  whole. 
Some  difficulties  were  raised  as  to  the  proper  mode  of  proceed 
ing,  and  some  opposition  made  to  the  work  itself.  These,  how 
ever,  being  surmounted,  and  three  days  in  each  week  appropri 
ated  to  the  task,  we  went  on  slowly  but  successfully,  till  we 
arrived  at  the  bill  concerning  crimes  and  punishments.  Here 
the  adversaries  of  the  Code  exerted  their  whole  force,  which, 
being  abetted  by  the  impatience  of  its  friends  in  an  advanced 
stage  of  the  session,  so  far  prevailed  that  the  farther  prosecu 
tion  of  the  work  was  postponed  till  the  next  session. 

The  operation  of  the  bills  passed  is  suspended  until  the  be 
ginning  of  1787,  so  that,  if  the  code  should  be  resumed  by  the 
next  Assembly  and  finished  early  in  the  session,  the  whole  sys 
tem  may  commence  at  once.  I  found  it  more  popular  in  the 


LETTERS.  213 

Assembly  than  I  had  formed  any  idea  of,  and  though  it  was 
considered  by  paragraphs,  and  carried  through  all  the  custom 
ary  forms,  it  might  have  been  finished  at  one  session  with  great 
ease,  if  the  time  spent  on  motions  to  put  it  off  and  other  dila 
tory  artifices  had  been  employed  on  its  merits.  The  adversa 
ries  were  the  Speaker,  Thruston,  and  Mercer,  who  came  late  in 
the  session  into  a  vacancy  left  by  the  death  of  Col.  Brent,  of 
Stafford,  and  contributed  principally  to  the  mischief. 

The  titles  in  the  enclosed  list  will  point  out  to  you  such  of 
the  bills  as  were  adopted  from  the  Revisal.  The  alterations 
which  they  underwent  are  too  numerous  to  be  specified,  but 
have  not  materially  vitiated  the  work.  The  bills  passed  over 
were  either  temporary  ones,  such  as,  being  not  essential  as  parts 
of  the  system,  may  be  adopted  at  any  time,  and  were  likely  to 
impede  it  at  this,  or  such  as  have  been  rendered  unnecessary  by 
acts  passed  since  the  epoch  at  which  the  revisal  was  prepared. 
After  the  completion  of  the  work  at  this  session  was  despaired 
of,  it  was  proposed  and  decided  that  a  few  of  the  bills  following 
the  bill  concerning  crimes  and  punishments  should  be  taken  up, 
as  of  peculiar  importance. 

The  only  one  of  these  which  was  pursued  into  an  Act  is  the 
Bill  concerning  Religious  freedom.  The  steps  taken  through 
out  the  Country  to  defeat  the  General  Assessment  had  pro 
duced  all  the  effect  that  could  have  been  wished.  The  table 
was  loaded  with  petitions  and  remonstrances  from  all  parts 
against  the  interposition  of  the  Legislature  in  matters  of  Re 
ligion.  A  general  Convention  of  the  Presbyterian  church 
prayed  expressly  that  the  bill  in  the  revisal  might  be  passed 
into  a  law,  as  the  best  safeguard,  short  of  a  Constitutional  one, 
for  their  religious  rights.  The  bill  was  carried  thro'  the  House 
of  Delegates  without  alteration.  The  Senate  objected  to  the 
preamble,  and  sent  down  a  proposed  substitution  of  the  16th  ar 
ticle  of  the  Declaration  of  Rights.  The  House  of  Delegates 
disagreed.  The  Senate  insisted,  and  asked  a  Conference.  Their 
objections  were  frivolous  indeed.  In  order  to  remove  them,  as 
diey  were  understood  by  the  Managers  of  the  House  of  Dele- 

214  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

gates,  the  preamble  was  sent  up  again  from  the  House  of  Dele 
gates' with  one  or  two  verbal  alterations.  As  an  amendment 
to  these  the  Senate  sent  down  a  few  others,  which,  as  they  did 
not  affect  the  substance,  though  they  somewhat  defaced  the 
composition,  it  was  thought  better  to  agree  to  than  to  run  fur 
ther  risks,  especially  as  it  was  getting  late  in  the  Session  and 
the  House  growing  thin.  The  enacting  clauses  past  without  a 
single  alteration,  and  I  flatter  myself  have,  in  this  country,  ex 
tinguished  forever  the  ambitious  hope  of  making  laws  for  the 
human  mind. 

Acts  not  included  in  the  Revised. 

For  the   naturaiiza-         This  was  brought  forward  by  Col.  Henry 
tlon^of  the  Marquis  de     Lee,  Jr.,  and  passed  without  opposition. 
It  recites  his  merits  towards  this  Country, 
and  constitutes  him  a  Citizen  of  it. 

The  donation  presented  to  Gen1  Wash- 
To    amend    the    act      .  ,    ,  .  „ 

vesting  in  Gen1  Wash-  ington  embarrassed  him  much.  On  one 
ingtoifcertain  shares  in  side  he  disliked  the  appearance  of  slight- 

the  River  Companies.         .  .    -  r 

ing  the  bounty  of  his  Country,  and  of  an 
ostentatious  disinterestedness.  On  the  other,  an  acceptance  of 
reward  in  any  shape  was  irreconcileable  with  the  law  lie  had 
imposed  on  himself.  His  answer  to  the  Assembly  declined  in 
the  most  affectionate  terms  the  emolument  allotted  to  himself, 
but  intimated  his  willingness  to  accept  it  so  far  as  to  dedicate 
it  to  some  public  and  patriotic  use.  This  act  recites  the  origi 
nal  act  and  his  answer,  and  appropriates  the  future  revenue  from 
the  shares  to  such  public  objects  as  he  shall  appoint.  He  has 
been  pleased  to  ask  my  ideas  with  regard  to  the  most  proper 
objects.  I  suggest,  in  general  only,  a  partition  of  the  fund  be 
tween  some  institution  which  would  please  the  philosophical 
world,  and  some  other  which  may  be  of  a  popular  cast.  If  your 
knowledge  of  the  several  institutions  in  France  or  elsewhere 
should  suggest  models  or  hints,  I  could  wish  for  your  ideas  on 
the  case,  which  no  less  concern  the  good  of  the  Commonwealth 
than  the  character  of  its  most  illustrious  citizen. 


LETTERS.  215 

Some  of  the  malefactors  consigned  by 
the  Executive  to  labour  brought  the  legal- 
cil  to  grant  Conditional     j^y  of  such  pardons  before  the  late  Court 

pardons  in  certain  cases.         *  .  , 

of  Appeals,  who  adjudged  them  to  be  void. 
This  act  gives  the  Executive  a  power  in  such  cases  for  one  year. 
It  passed  before  the  bill  in  the  revisal  on  this  subject  was  taken 
up,  and  was  urged  against  the  necessity  of  passing  it  at  this 
Session.  The  expiration  of  this  act  at  the  next  Session  will 
become  an  argument  on  the  other  side. 

This  act  empowers  the  Executive  to  con- 

An  act  giving  powers 

to  the  Governor  and  fine  Or  Send  away  SUSplClOUS  aliens,  On  no- 
Council  in  certain  cases.  tice  from  Congress  that  their  sovereigns 

have  declared  or  commenced  hostilities  against  the  United 
States,  or  that  the  latter  have  declared  war  against  such  sover 
eigns.  It  was  occasioned  by  the  arrival  of  two  or  three  Alge- 
rines  here,  who,  having  no  apparent  object,  were  suspected  of 
an  unfriendly  one.  The  Executive  caused  them  to  be  brought 
before  them,  but  found  themselves  unarmed  with  power  to  pro 
ceed.  These  adventurers  have  since  gone  off. 

Act  for  safe  keeping  Abolishes  the  quit-rent,  and  removes  the 
era-Neck.^  papers  to  the  Register's  office. 

Act  for  reforming  Requires  them  to  clear  their  dockets 
County  Courts.  quarterly.  It  amounts  to  nothing,  and  is 

chiefly  the  result  of  efforts  to  render  Courts  of  Assize  unneces 

The  latter  act,  passed  at  the  last  session, 

Act   to   suspend   the  T  i    ,. 

operation  of  the  act  es-  required  sundry  supplemental  regulations 
tablishing  Courts  of  As-  to  fit  jt  for  operation.  An  attempt  to  pro 
vide  these,  which  involved  the  merits  of  the 
innovation,  drew  forth  the  united  exertions  of  its  adversaries. 
On  the  question  on  the  supplemental  bill,  they  prevailed  by  63 
votes  against  49.  The  best  that  could  be  done  in  this  situation 
was  to  suspend  instead  of  repealing  the  original  act,  which  will 
give  another  chance  to  our  successors  for  introducing  the  pro 
posed  reform.  The  various  interests  opposed  to  it  will  never 
be  conquered  without  considerable  difficulty. 

2(6  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17SC. 

Resolution  proposing         The  necessity  of  harmony  in  the  commer- 
a  general  meeting  of     cial  regulations  of  the  States  has  been  ren- 

eommissioners  from  the       ,         ,  ,  mi      i         i 

States  to  consider  and     dQYQd  every  day  more  apparent.    Ihe  local 

recommend    a    federal      efforts   to    counteract   the   policy   of  Great 

plan  for  regulating  com-  .  r         J 

merce;  and  appointing     Britain,  instead  ol  succeeding,  have  in  every 

instance  recoiled  more  or  less  on  the  State's 

Js  Madison,  Jr.,  Walter  which  ventured   on   the   trial.     Notwith- 

Jones,  S*  G-.  Tucker.  M.  n.         .-,                           .-.      ,r       ,               P 

Smith,  G.  Mason,  and  standing  these  lessons,  the  Merchants  01 

David  Ross,  who  are  to  fl^g  State,  except  those  of  Alexandria,  and 

communicate  the  propo-  '  .  .  .  ' 

sal  and  suggest  time  and  a  few  of  the  more  intelligent  individuals 
place  of  meeting.  elsewhere,  were  so  far  carried  away  by 

their  jealousies  of  the  Northern  Marine  as  to  wish  for  a  naviga 
tion  Act  confined  to  this  State  alone.  In  opposition  to  those 
narrow  ideas,  the  printed  proposition  herewith  inclosed  was 
made.  As  printed,  it  went  into  a  Committee  of  the  whole.  The 
alterations  of  the  pen  shew  the  state  in  which  it  came  out.  Its 
object  was  to  give  Congress  such  direct  power  only  as  would 
not  alarm,  but  to  limit  that  of  the  States  in  such  manner  as 
would  indirectly  require  a  conformity  to  the  plans  of  Congress. 
The  renunciation  of  the  right  of  laying  duties  on  imports  from 
other  States  would  amount  to  a  prohibition  of  duties  on  im 
ports  from  foreign  Countries,  unless  similar  duties  existed  in 
other  States.  This  idea  was  favored  by  the  discord  produced 
between  several  States  by  rival  and  adverse  regulations.  The 
evil  had  proceeded  so  far  between  Connecticut  and  Massachu 
setts  that  the  former  laid  heavier  duties  on  imports  from  the 
latter  than  from  Great  Britain,  of  which  the  latter  sent  a  letter 
of  complaint  to  the  Executive  here,  and  I  suppose  to  the  other 
Executives.  Without  some  such  self-denying  compact,  it  will, 
I  conceive,  be  impossible  to  preserve  harmony  among  the  con 
tiguous  States. 

In  the  Committee  of  the  whole  the  proposition  was  combated 
at  first  on  its  general  merits.  This  ground  was,  however,  soon 
changed  for  that  of  its  perpetual  duration,  which  was  reduced 
first  to  25  years,  then  to  13  years.  Its  adversaries  were  the 
Speaker,  Thruston,  and  Corbin;  they  were  bitter  and  illiberal 

178G.  LETTERS.  217 

against  Congress  and  the  Northern  States  beyond  example. 
Thruston  considered  it  as  problematical  whether  it  would  not 
be  better  to  encourage  the  British  than  the  Eastern  marine. 
Braxton  and  Smith  were  in  the  same  sentiments,  but  absent  at 
this  crisis  of  the  question. 

The  limitation  of  the  plan  to  13  years  so  far  destroyed  its 
value  in  the  judgment  of  its  friends,  that  they  chose  rather  to 
do  nothing  than  to  adopt  it  in  that  form.  The  report  accord 
ingly  remained  on  the  table  uncalled  for  to  the  end  of  the  ses 
sion.  And  on  the  last  day  the  resolution  above  quoted  was 
substituted.  It  had  been  proposed  by  Mr.  Tyler  immediately 
after  the  miscarriage  of  the  printed  proposition,  but  was  left 
on  the  table  till  it  was  found  that  several  propositions  for  reg 
ulating  our  trade  without  regard  to  other  States  produced 
nothing.  In  this  extremity,  the  resolution  was  generally  ac 
ceded  to,  not  without  the  opposition  of  Corbin  and  Smith.  The 
Commissioners  first  named  were  the  Attorney,  Doctor  Jones, 
and  myself.  In  the  House  of  Delegates,  Tucker  and  Smith 
were  added,  and  in  the  Senate,  Mason,  Ross,  and  Ronald.  The 
last  does  not  undertake. 

.The  port  bill  was  attacked  and  nearly  defeated.  An  amend 
atory  bill  was  passed  with  difficulty  thro'  the  House  of  Dele 
gates,  and  rejected  in  the  Senate.  The  original  one  will  take 
effect  before  the  next  session,  but  will  probably  be  repealed 
then.  It  would  have  been  repealed  at  this,  if  its  adversaries 
had  known  their  strength  in  time  and  exerted  it  with  judgment. 

A  Bill  was  brought  in  for  paying  British  debts,  but  was  ren 
dered  so  inadequate  to  its  object  by  alterations  inserted  by  a 
committee  of  the  whole,  that  the  patrons  of  it  thought  it  best  to 
let  it  sleep. 

Several  petitions  (from  Methodists,  chiefly)  appeared  in  favor 
of  a  gradual  abolition  of  slavery,  and  several  from  another 
quarter  for  a  repeal  of  the  law  which  licences  private  manu 
missions.  The  former  were  not  thrown  under  the  table,  but 
were  treated  with  all  the  indignity  short  of  it.  A  proposition 
ror  bringing  in  a  bill  conformably  to  the  latter  was  decided  in 

218  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1736. 

the  affirmative  by  the  casting  voice  of  the  Speaker;  but  the  bill 
was  thrown  out  on  the  first  reading  by  a  considerable  majority. 
A  considerable  itcli  for  paper  money  discovered  itself,  though 
no  overt  attempt  was  made.  The  partizans  of  the  measure, 
among  whom  Mr.  M.  Smith  may  be  considered  as  the  most  zeal 
ous,  flatter  themselves,  and  I  fear  upon  too  good  ground,  that 
it  will  be  among  the  measures  of  the  next  session.  The  unfa 
vorable  balance  of  trade  and  the  substitution  of  facilities  in 
the  taxes  will  have  dismissed  the  little  specie  remaining  among 
us  and  strengthened  the  common  argument  for  a  paper  medium. 
This  tax  was  to  have  been  collected  in 
theA?axfof  tEeS|rSt  September  last,  and  had  been  in  part  ac- 

year,  and  admitting  fa-  tually  collected  in  specie.  Notwithstand- 
ciMes  in  payment.  .  ,,  .  ,  ,,  _*  _  _  _. 

ing  this  and  the  distress  of  public  credit, 

an  effort  was  made  to  remit  the  tax  altogether.  The  party  was 
headed  by  Braxton,  who  was  courting  an  appointment  into  the 
Council.  On  the  question  for  a  third  reading,  the  affirmative 
was  carried  by  52  against  42.  On  the  final  question,  a  vigor 
ous  effort  on  the  negative  side,  with  a  reinforcement  of  a  few 
new  members,  threw  the  bill  out.  The  victory,  however,  was 
not  obtained  without  subscribing  to  a  postponement  instead  of 
remission,  and  the  admission  of  facilities  instead  of  specie.  The 
postponement,  too,  extends  not  only  to  the  tax  which  was  under 
collection,  and  which  will  not  now  come  in  till  May,  but  to  the 
tax  of  September  next,  which  will  not  now  be  in  the  Treasury 
till  the  beginning  of  next  year.  The  wisdom  of  seven  sessions 
will  be  unable  to  repair  the  mischiefs  of  this  single  act. 

This  was  prayed  for  by  a  memorial  from 

Act    concerning    the  -,  , .  . 

erection  of  Kentucky  a  Convention  held  in  Kentucky,  and 
State  an  independent  passed  without  opposition.  It  contains 
stipulations  in  favor  of  territorial  rights 
held  under  the  laws  of  Virginia,  and  suspends  the  actual  separ 
ation  on  the  decision  of  a  Convention  authorized  to  meet  for 
that  purpose,  and  on  the  assent  of  Congress.  The  boundary 
of  the  proposed  State  is  to  remain  the  same  as  the  present 
boundary  of  the  district. 

1786.  LETTERS.  219 

Act    to  amend    the        At  the  last  session  of  1784  an  act  passed 
Militia  law.  displacing  all  the  militia  officers,  and  pro 

viding  for  the  appointment  of  experienced  men.  In  most  coun 
ties  it  was  carried  into  execution,  and  generally  much  to  the 
advantage  of  the  militia.  In  consequence  of  a  few  petitions 
against  the  law  as  a  breach  of  the  Constitution,  this  act  reverses 
all  the  proceedings  under  it,  and  reinstates  the  old  officers. 

From  the  peculiar  situation  of  that  dis- 

Act  to  extend  the  on-      ,    .    ,     ,T       -17,     i        ,    n  .    .      ,, 

eration  of  the  Escheat  trict>  the  Escheat  law  was  not  originally 
ncd-  t0  tbe  Northern  extended  to  it.  Its  extension  at  this  time 
was  occasioned  by  a  bill  brought  in  by  Mr. 
Mercer  for  seizing  and  selling  the  deeded  land  of  the  late  Lord 
Fairfax,  on  the  ground  of  its  being  devised  to  aliens,  leaving 
them  at  liberty,  indeed,  to  assert  their  pretensions  before  the 
Court  of  Appeals.  As  the  bill,  however,  stated  the  law  and 
the  fact,  and  excluded  the  ordinary  inquest,  in  the  face  of  pre 
tensions  set  up  even  by  a  citizen,  (Martin,)  to  whom  it  is  said 
the  reversion  is  given  by  the  will,  it  was  opposed  as  exerting 
at  least  a  Legislative  interference  in,  and  improper  influence 
on.  the  Judiciary  question.  It  was  proposed  to  substitute  the 
present  act  as  an  amendment  to  the  bill  in  a  committee  of  the 
whole;  which  was  disagreed  to.  The  bill  being  of  a  popular 
cast  went  through  the  House  of  Delegates  by  a  great  majority. 
In  the  Senate  it  was  rejected  by  a  greater  one,  if  not  unani 
mously.  The  extension  of  the  escheat  law  was,  in  consequence, 
taken  up  and  passed. 

"An  act  for  punishing        To  wit:  attempts  to  dismember  the  State 
certain  offences."  without  the  consent  of  the  Legislature.    It 

is  pointed  against  the  faction  headed  by  Arthur  Campbell,  in 
the  County  of  Washington. 

Act  for  amending  the  Complies  with   the   requisition   of   Con- 

appropriating  Act.  gress  for  the  present  year,  to  wit:   1786. 

It  directs  512,000  dollars,  the  quota  of  this  State,  to  be  paid 
before  May  next,  the  time  fixed  by  Congress,  altho'  it  is  known 
that  the  postponement  of  the  taxes  renders  the  payment  of  a 
shilling  impossible.  Our  payments  last  year  gained  us  a  little 
reputation.  Our  conduct  this  must  stamp  us  with  ignominy. 

220  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  i786> 

Act  for  regulating  the  Reduces  that  of  the  Governor  from 
salaries  of  the  civil  list.  .glj000  to  ^go^  and  the  others,  some  at  a 

greater,  and  some  at  a  less  proportion. 

Act  for  disposing  of          Meant  chlefl^  tO    affect  VaCailt   klld  in 

waste  lands  on  Eastern     the  Northern  Neck,  erroneously  conceived 

to  be  in  great  quantity  and  of  great  value. 

The  price  is  fixed  at  <£25  per  Hundred  acres,  at  which  not  an 

acre  will  be  sold. 

An  act  imposing  ad-         Amounting  in  the  whole  to   five   sliil- 

ditional  tonnage  on  Brit 
ish  vessels.  lings  per  ton. 

Nothing  has  been  yet  done  with  North  Carolina  towards 
opening  a  Canal  through  the  Dismal.  The  powers  given  to 
Commissioners  on  our  part  are  renewed,  and  some  negociation 
will  be  brought  about  if  possible.  A  certain  interest  in  that 
State  is  suspected  of  being  disinclined  to  promote  the  object, 
notwithstanding  its  manifest  importance  to  the  community  at 
large.  On  Potowmac  they  have  been  at  work  some  time.  On 
this  river  they  have  about  eighty  hands  ready  to  break  ground, 
and  have  engaged  a  man  to  plan  for  them.  I  fear  there  is  a 
want  of  skill  for  the  undertaking  that  threatens  a  waste  of  la 
bour  and  a  discouragement  to  the  enterprize.  I  do  not  learn 
that  any  measures  have  been  taken  to  procure  from  Europe  the 
aid  which  ought  to  be  purchased  at  any  price,  and  which  might, 
I  should  suppose,  be  purchased  at  a  moderate  one. 

I  had  an  opportunity  a  few  days  ago  of  knowing  that  Mrs. 
Carr  and  her  family,  as  well  as  your  little  daughter,  were  well. 
I  am  apprehensive  that  some  impediments  still  detain  your 
younger  nephew  from  his  destination.  Peter  has  been  in  Wil- 
liamsburg.  and  I  am  told  by  Mr.  Maury  that  his  progress  is 
satisfactory.  He  has  read,  under  him,  Horace,  some  of  Cicero's 
orations,  Greek  testament,  JEsop's  fables  in  Greek,  ten  books 
of  Homer's  Iliad,  and  is  now  beginning  Xenophon,  Juvenal,  and 
Livy.  He  has  also  given  some  attention  to  French. 

I  have  paid  Le  Maire  ten  guineas.  He  will  set  out  in  about 
three  weeks,  I  am  told,  for  France.  Mr.  Jones  has  promised 
to  collect  and  forward  by  him  all  such  papers  as  are  in  print, 
and  will  explain  the  situation  of  our  affairs  to  you.  Among 

1786,  LETTERS.  221 

them  will  be  the  most  important  acts  of  the  session,  and  the 
Journal  as  far  as  it  will  be  printed. 

Mr.  William  Hays,  in  sinking  a  well  on  the  declivity  of  the 
hill  above  the  proposed  seat  of  the  Capitol,  and  nearly  in  a  line 
from  the  Capitol  to  Belvidere,  found  about  seventy  feet  below 
the  surface  several  large  bones,  apparently  belonging  to  a  fish 
not  less  than  the  shark,  and,  what  is  more  singular,  several  frag 
ments  of  potter's  ware  in  the  style  of  the  Indians.  Before  he 
reached  these  curiosities  he  passed  through  about  fifty  feet  of 
soft  blue  clay.  I  have  not  seen  the  articles,  having  but  just 
heard  of  them,  and  been  too  closely  engaged;  but  have  my  in 
formation  from  the  most  unexceptionable  witnesses,  who  have. 
I  am  told  by  General  Russell,  of  Washington  County,  that,  in 
sinking  a  salt  well  in  that  County,  he  fell  in  with  the  hip  bone 
of  the  incognitum,  the  socket  of  which  was  about  8  inches  diam 
eter.  It  was  very  soft  in  the  subterraneous  state,  but  seemed 
to  undergo  a  petrefaction  on  being  exposed  to  the  air. 
Adieu.  Affection17. 

Promotions. — Edward  Carrington  &  H.  Lee,  Jr.,  added  to  R. 
H.  Lee,  J's  Monroe,  and  Wm.  Grayson,  in  the  delegation  to 

Carter  Braxton  to  the  Council. 

John  Tyler  to  court  of  admiralty,  in  room  of  B.  Waller,  re 

Prices  current. — Tobacco,  23s.  on  James  River,  and  propor 
tionally  elsewhere. 

Wheat,  5  to  6s.  per  bushel. 

Corn,  18  to  20s.  per  barrel. 

Pork  28  to  30s  pr  ct. 


RICHMOND,  January  22d.  1786. 

DEAR  SIR,— Your  favors  of  the  19th  December  and  7th  Jan 
uary  came  both  to  hand  by  yesterday's  mail.    The  Assembly  ad- 

222  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

journcd  last  night  after  a  session  of  97  days.  If  its  importance 
were  to  be  measured  by  a  list  of  the  laws  which  it  has  produced, 
all  preceding  Legislative  merit  would  be  eclipsed,  the  number 
in  this  instance  amounting  to  114  or  115.  If  we  recur  to  the 
proper  criterion,  no  session  has,  perhaps,  afforded  less  ground 
for  applause.  Not  a  single  member  seems  to  be  pleased  with  a 
review  of  what  has  passed.  I  was  too  hasty  in  informing  you 
that  an  amendment  of  the  Port  bill  had  passed.  I  was  led  into 
the  error  by  the  mistake  of  some  who  told  me  it  had  passed  the 
Senate,  when  it  had  only  been  agreed  to  in  a  Committee  of  the 
Senate.  Instead  of  passing  it,  they  sent  down  a  repeal  of  the 
old  port  bill  by  way  of  amendment.  This  was  disagreed  to  by 
the  House  of  Delegates  as  indirectly  originating.  The  Senate 
adhered,  and  the  bill  was  lost.  An  attempt  was  then  made  by 
the  adversaries  of  the  port  measure  to  suspend  its  operation  till 
the  end  of  the  next  session.  This  also  was  negatived,  so  that 
the  old  bill  is  left  as  it  stood,  without  alteration.  Defective  as 
it  is,  particularly  in  putting  citizens  of  other  States  on  the  foot 
ing  of  foreigners,  and  destitute  as  it  is  of  proper  concomitant 
provisions,  it  was  judged  best  to  hold  it  fast,  and  trust  to  a  suc 
ceeding  Assembly  for  amendments. 

The  navigation  system  for  the  State,  after  having  been  pre 
pared  at  great  length  by  Mr.  G.  Baker,  was  procrastinated  in 
a  very  singular  manner,  and  finally  died  away  of  itself,  without 
anything  being  done,  except  a  short  act  passed  yesterday  in 
great  hurry,  imposing  a  tonnage  of  5  shillings  on  the  vessels  of 
foreigners  not  having  treated  with  the  United  States. 

This  failure  of  local  measures  in  the  commercial  line,  instead 
of  reviving  the  original  propositions  for  a  general  plan,  revived 
that  of  Mr.  Tyler  for  the  appointment  of  Commissioners  to  meet 
Commissioners  from  the  other  States  on  the  subject  of  general 
regulations.  It  went  through  by  a  very  great  majority,  being 
opposed  only  by  Mr.  M.  Smith  and  Mr.  Corbin.  The  expedi 
ent  is  no  doubt  liable  to  objections,  and  will  probably  mis 
carry.  I  think,  however,  it  is  better  than  nothing;  and  as  a 
recommendation  of  additional  powers  to  Congress  is  within  the 
purview  of  the  Commission,  it  may  possibly  lead  to  better  con- 

17SG.  LETTERS.  223 

sequences  than  at  first  occur.  The  Commissioners  first  named 
were  the  attorney,  Doctor  W.  Jones  of  the  Senate,  and  myself. 
The  importunity  of  Mr.  Page  procured  the  addition  of  S'  George 
Tucker,  who  is  sensible,  federal,  and  skilled  in  commerce,  to 
whom  was  added,  on  the  motion  of  I  know  not  whom,  Mr.  M. 
Smith,  who  is  at  least  exceptionable  in  the  second  quality,  hav 
ing  made  unceasing  war  during  the  session  against  the  idea  of 
bracing  the  federal  system.  In  the  senate,  a  further  addition 
was  made  of  Col.  Mason,  Mr.  D.  Ross,  and  Mr.  Ronald.  The 
name  of  the  latter  was  struck  out  at  his  desire.  The  others 
stand.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  this  multitude  of  associates  will 
stifle  the  thing  in  its  birth.  By  some  it  was  probably  meant  to 
do  so. 

I  am  glad  to  find  that  Virginia  has  merit  where  you  are,  and 
should  be  more  so  if  I  saw  greater  reason  for  it.  The  bill 
which  is  considered  at  New  York  as  a  compliance  with  the  re 
quisitions  of  Congress,  is  more  so  in  appearance  than  reality. 
It  will  bring  no  specie  into  the  Treasury,  and  but  little  Conti 
nental  paper.  Another  act  has  since  passed  which  professes  to 
comply  more  regularly  with  the  demand  of  Congress,  but  this 
will  fail  as  to  specie  and  as  to  punctuality.  It  will  probably 
procure  the  indents  called  for,  and  fulfils  the  views  of  Congress 
in  making  those  of  other  States  receivable  into  our  Treasury. 
Among  the  acts  passed  since  my  last,  I  must  not  omit  an  eco 
nomical  revision  of  the  Civil  list.  The  saving  will  amount  to 
5  or  6.000  pounds.  The  Governor  was  reduced  by  the  House 
of  Delegates  to  £800,  to  which  the  Senate  objected.  Which 
receded  I  really  forget.  The  Council  to  £2,000;  the  Attorney 
to  £200;  Register  from  £1,100  to  £800;  Auditor  and  Solicitor 
from  £4  to  300;  Speaker  of  House  of  Delegates  to  40s.  per  day, 
including  daily  pay  as  a  member;  and  of  Senate  to  20s,  &c.; 
Delegates  to  Congress  to  six  dollars  per  day.  The  act,  how 
ever,  is  not  to  commence  till  November  next. 

224  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  i78G 


ORANGE,  March  18th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  two  favours  of  the  1  and  20  September, 
under  the  same  cover,  by  Mr.  Fitzhugh,  did  not  come  to  hand 
till  the  24th  ultimo,  and  of  course  till  it  was  too  late  for  any 
Legislative  interposition  with  regard  to  the  Capitol.  I  have 
written  to  the  Attorney  on  the  subject.  A  letter  which  I  have 
from  him,  dated  prior  to  his  receipt  of  mine,  takes  notice  of  the 
plan  you  had  promised,  and  makes  no  doubt  that  it  will  arrive 
in  time  for  the  purpose  of  the  Commissioners.  I  do  not  gather 
from  his  expressions,  however,  that  he  was  aware  of  the  change 
which  will  become  necessary  in  the  foundation  already  laid,  a 
change  which  will  not  be  submitted  to  without  reluctance,  for 
two  reasons:  1.  The  appearance  of  caprice  to  which  it  may 
expose  the  Commissioners.  2.  Which  is  the  material  one,  the 
danger  of  retarding  the  work  till  the  next  session  of  Assembly 
can  interpose  a  vote  for  its  suspension,  and  possibly  for  a  re 
moval  to  Williamsburg.  This  danger  is  not  altogether  imagi 
nary.  Not  a  session  has  passed  since  I  became  a  member  with 
out  one  or  other  or  both  of  these  attempts. 

At  the  late  session  a  suspension  was  moved  by  the  Williams- 
burg  interest,  which  was  within  a  few  votes  of  being  agreed  to. 
It  is  a  great  object,  therefore,  with  the  Richmond  interest,  to 
get  the  buildings  so  far  advanced  before  the  fall  as  to  put  an 
end  to  such  experiments.  The  circumstances  which  will  weigh 
in  the  other  scale,  and  which,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  will  preponder 
ate,  are  the  fear  of  being  reproached  with  sacrificing  public 
considerations  to  a  local  policy,  and  a  hope  that  the  substitu 
tion  of  a  more  economical  plan  may  better  reconcile  the  As 
sembly  to  a  prosecution  of  the  undertaking. 

Since  I  have  been  at  home  I  have  had  leisure  to  review  the 
literary  cargo,  for  which  I  am  so  much  indebted  to  your  friend 
ship.  The  collection  is  perfectly  to  my  mind.  I  must  trouble 
you  only  to  get  two  little  mistakes  rectified.  The  number  of 
vols.  in  the  Encyclopedia  corresponds  with  your  list,  but  a  du 
plicate  has  been  packed  up  of  Tom.  1,  premiere  par  tie  of  His- 

1786.  LETTERS.  225 

toire  Naturelle,  Quadrupedes,  premiere  livraison,  and  there  is 
left  out  the  second  part  of  the  same  Tome,  which,  as  appears 
by  the  Avis  to  the  1st  Livraison,  makes  the  1st  Tome  of  His- 
toire  des  oiseaux  as  well  as  by  the  Histoire  des  oixeaux  sent, 
which  begins  with  Tom.  II  repartie,  and  with  the  letter  F  from 
the  Avis  to  the  sixth  Livraison.  I  infer  that  the  vol.  omitted 
made  part  of  the  5th  livraison.  The  duplicate  vol.  seems  to 
have  been  a  good  deal  handled,  and  possibly  belongs  to  your 
own  sett.  Shall  I  keep  it  in  my  hands,  or  send  it  back?  The 
other  mistake  is  an  omission  of  the  4th  vol.  of  D'Albon  sur 
1'interet  de  plusieurs  nations,  &c.  The  binding  of  the  three 
vols  which  are  come  is  distinguished  from  that  of  most  of  the 
other  books  by  the  circumstance  of  the  figure  on  the  back  num 
bering  the  vol8  being  on  a  black  instead  of  a  red  ground.  The 
author's  name  above  is  on  a  red  ground.  I  mention  these  cir 
cumstances  that  the  binder  may  supply  the  omitted  volume  in 
proper  uniform. 

I  annex  a  state  of  our  account  balanced.  I  had  an  opportu 
nity  a  few  clays  after  your  letters  were  received  of  remitting 
the  balance  to  the  hands  of  Mrs.  Carr,  with  a  request  that  it 
might  be  made  use  of  as  you  directed,  to  prevent  a  loss  of  time 
to  her  sons  from  occasional  disappointments  in  the  stated  funds. 
I  have  not  yet  heard  from  the  Mr.  Fitzhughs  on  the  subject  of 
your  advance  to  them.  The  advance  to  Le  Maire  had  been 
made  a  considerable  time  before  I  received  your  countermand 
ing  instructions.  I  have  no  copying  press,  but  must  postpone 
that  conveniency  to  other  wants  which  will  absorb  my  little 
resources.  I  am  fully  apprized  of  the  value  of  this  machine, 
and  mean  to  get  one  when  I  can  better  afford  it  and  may  have 
more  use  for  it.  I  am  led  to  think  it  would  be  a  very  economi 
cal  acquisition  to  all  our  public  offices,  which  are  obliged  to 
furnish  copies  of  papers  belonging  to  them. 

A  quorum  of  the  deputies  appointed  by  the  Assembly  for  a 
commercial  Convention  had  a  meeting  at  Richmond  shortly 
after  I  left  it,  and  the  Attorney  tells  me  it  has  been  agreed  to 
propose  Annapolis  for  the  place,  and  the  first  monday  in  Sep 
tember  for  the  time,  of  holding  the  Convention.  It  was  thought 

VOL.  i.  15 

226  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

prudent  to  avoid  the  neighborhood  of  Congress  and  the  large 
Commercial  towns,  in  order  to  disarm  the  adversaries  to  the 
object  of  insinuations  of  influence  from  either  of  these  quarters. 
I  have  not  heard  what  opinion  is  entertained  of  this  project  at 
New  York,  nor  what  reception  it  has  found  in  any  of  the  States. 
If  it  should  come  to  nothing,  it  will,  I  fear,  confirm  Great  Brit 
ain  and  all  the  world  in  the  belief  that  we  are  not  to  be  re 
spected  nor  apprehended  as  a  nation  in  matters  of  commerce. 
The  States  are  every  day  giving  proofs  that  separate  regulations 
are  more  likely  to  set  them  by  the  ears  than  to  attain  the  com 
mon  object.  When  Massachusetts  set  on  foot  a  retaliation  of 
the  policy  of  Great  Britain,  Connecticut  declared  her  ports  free. 
New  Jersey  served  New  York  in  the  same  way.  And  Delaware, 
I  am  told,  has  lately  followed  the  example,  in  opposition  to  the 
commercial  plans  of  Pennsylvania. 

A  miscarriage  of  this  attempt  to  unite  the  States  in  some 
effectual  plan  will  have  another  effect  of  a  serious  nature.  It 
will  dissipate  every  prospect  of  drawing  a  steady  revenue  from 
our  imposts,  either  directly  into  the  federal  treasury,  or  indi 
rectly  through  the  treasuries  of  the  Commercial  States,  and,  of 
consequence,  the  former  must  depend  for  supplies  solely  on  an 
nual  requisitions,  and  the  latter  on  direct  taxes  drawn  from  the 
property  of  the  Country.  That  these  dependencies  are  in  an 
alarming  degree  fallacious,  is  put  by  experience  out  of  all  ques 
tion.  The  payments  from  the  States  under  the  calls  of  Congress 
have  in  no  year  borne  any  proportion  to  the  public  wants. 
During  the  last  year,  that  is,  from  November,  1784,  to  Novem 
ber,  1785,  the  aggregate  payments,  as  stated  to  the  late  Assem 
bly,  fell  short  of  400,000  dollars,  a  sum  neither  equal  to  the 
interest  due  on  the  foreign  debts,  nor  even  to  the  current  ex- 
pences  of  the  federal  Government.  The  greatest  part  of  this 
sum,  too,  went  from  Virginia,  which  will  not  supply  a  single 
shilling  the  present  year. 

Another  unhappy  effect  of  a  continuance  of  the  present  anar 
chy  of  our  commerce  will  be  a  continuance  of  the  unfavorable 
balance  on  it,  which,  by  draining  us  of  our  metals,  furnishes 
pretexts  for  the  pernicious  substitution  of  paper  money,  for  in- 

1780.  LETTERS.  227 

diligences  to  debtors,  for  postponements  of  taxes.  In  fact,  most 
of  our  political  evils  may  be  traced  up  to  our  commercial  ones, 
as  most  of  our  moral  may  to  our  political.  The  lessons  which 
the  mercantile  interest  of  Europe  have  received  from  late  expe 
rience  will  probably  check  their  propensity  to  credit  us  beyond 
our  resources,  and  so  far  the  evil  of  an  unfavorable  balance 
will  correct  itself.  But  the  Merchants  of  Great  Britain,  if  no 
others,  will  continue  to  credit  us,  at  least  as  far  as  our  remit 
tances  can  be  strained,  and  that  is  far  enough  to  perpetuate  our 
difficulties,  unless  the  luxurious  propensity  of  our  own  people 
can  be  otherwise  checked. 

This  view  of  our  situation  presents  the  proposed  Convention 
as  a  remedial  experiment  which  ought  to  command  every  as 
sent;  but  if  it  be  a  just  view,  it  is  one  which  assuredly  will  not 
be  taken  by  all  even  of  those  whose  intentions  are  good.  I 
consider  the  event,  therefore,  as  extremely  uncertain,  or  rather, 
considering  that  the  States  must  first  agree  to  the  proposition 
for  sending  deputies,  that  these  must  agree  in  a  plan  to  be  sent 
back  to  the  States,  and  that  these  again  must  agree  unanimously 
in  a  ratification  of  it,  I  almost  despair  of  success.  It  is  neces 
sary,  however,  that  something  should  be  tried,  and  if  this  be 
not  the  best  possible  expedient,  it  is  the  best  that  could  possibly 
be  carried  through  the  Legislature  here.  And  if  the  present 
crisis  cannot  effect  unanimity,  from  what  future  concurrence  of 
circumstances  is  it  to  be  expected  ?  Two  considerations  partic 
ularly  remonstrate  against  delay.  One  is  the  danger  of  having 
the  same  game  played  on  our  Confederacy  by  which  Philip 
managed  that  of  the  Grecians.  I  saw  enough  during  the  late 
Assembly  of  the  influence  of  the  desperate  circumstances  of  in 
dividuals  on  their  public  conduct,  to  admonish  me  of  the  possi 
bility  of  finding  in  the  council  of  some  one  of  the  States  fit  in 
struments  of  foreign  machinations.  The  other  consideration  is 
the  probability  of  an  early  increase  of  the  confederated  States, 
which  more  than  proportionally  impede  measures  which  require 
unanimity;  as  the  new  members  may  bring  sentiments  and  in 
terests  less  congenial  with  those  of  the  Atlantic  States  than 
those  of  the  latter  are  one  with  another. 

228  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

The  price  of  our  staple  is  down  at  22s.  at  Richmond.  One 
argument  for  putting  off  the  taxes  was,  that  it  would  relieve  the 
planters  from  the  necessity  of  selling,  and  would  enable  them 
to  make  a  better  bargain  with  the  purchasers.  The  price  has, 
notwithstanding,  been  falling  ever  since.  How  far  the  event 
may  have  proceeded  from  a  change  in  the  Market  of  Europe,  I 
know  not.  That  it  has  in  part  proceeded  from  the  practice  of 
remitting  and  postponing  the  taxes,  may,  I  think,  be  fairly  de 
duced.  The  scarcity  of  money  must,  of  necessity,  sink  the  price 
of  every  article,  and  the  relaxation  in  collecting  the  taxes  in 
creases  this  scarcity  by  diverting  the  money  from  the  public 
Treasury  to  the  shops  of  Merchandize.  In  the  former  case  it 
would  return  into  circulation.  In  the  latter,  it  goes  out  of  the 
Country  to  balance  the  increased  consumption.  A  vigorous 
and  steady  collection  of  taxes  would  make  the  money  necessary 
here,  and  would  therefore  be  a  mean  of  keeping  it  here.  In  our 
situation  it  would  have  the  salutary  operation  of  a  sumptuary 
law.  The  price  of  Indian  Corn  in  this  part  of  the  Country, 
which  produced  the  best  crops,  is  not  higher  than  two  dollars 
per  barrel.  It  would  have  been  much  higher  but  for  the  pecu 
liar  mildness  of  the  winter.  December  and  January  scarcely 
reminded  us  that  it  was  winter.  February,  though  temperate, 
was  less  unseasonable.  Our  deepest  snow  (about  seven  inches) 
was  in  the  present  month.  I  observe  the  tops  of  the  blue  ridge 
still  marked  with  its  remains.  My  last  was  dated  January 
22d,  and  contained  a  narrative  of  the  proceedings  of  the  As 


ORANGE,  19th  March,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR-     *********** 
"The  Question  of  policy,"  you  say,  "is  whether  it  will  be  bet 
ter  to  correct  the  vices  of  the  Confederation  by  recommendation 
gradually  as  it  moves  along,  or  by  a  Convention.     If  the  latter 
should  be  determined  on,  the  powers  of  the  Yirginia  Comrnis- 

1786.  LETTERS.  229 

sioners  are  inadequate.7'  If  all  on  whom  the  correction  of  these 
vices  depends  were  well  informed  and  well  disposed,  the  mode 
would  be  of  little  moment.  But  as  we  have  both  ignorance  and 
iniquity  to  combat,  we  must  defeat  the  designs  of  the  latter  by 
humouring  the  prejudices  of  the  former.  The  efforts  for  bring 
ing  about  a  correction  through  the  medium  of  Congress  have 
miscarried.  Let  a  Convention,  then,  be  tried.  If  it  succeeds  in 
the  first  instance,  it  can  be  repeated  as  other  defects  force  them 
selves  on  the  public  attention,  and  as  the  public  inind  becomes 
prepared  for  further  remedies. 

The  Assembly  here  would  refer  nothing  to  Congress.  They 
would  have  revolted  equally  against  a  plenipotentiary  commis 
sion  to  their  deputies  for  the  Convention.  The  option,  there 
fore,  lay  between  doing  what  was  done  and  doing  nothing. 
Whether  a  right  choice  was  made  time  only  can  prove.  I  am 
not,  in  general,  an  advocate  for  temporizing  or  partial  remedies. 
But  a  rigor  in  this  respect,  if  pushed  too  far,  may  hazard  every 
thing.  If  the  present  paroxysm  of  our  affairs  be  totally  neg 
lected  our  case  may  become  desperate.  If  anything  comes  of 
the  Convention,  it  will  probably  be  of  a  permanent,  not  a  tem 
porary  nature,  which  I  think  will  be  a  great  point.  The  mind 
feels  a  peculiar  complacency  in  seeing  a  good  thing  done  when 
it  is  not  subject  to  the  trouble  and  uncertainty  of  doing  it  over 
again.  The  commission  is,  to  be  sure,  not  filled  to  every  man's 
mind.  The  History  of  it  may  be  a  subject  of  some  future  tete 
a  tete. 


ORANGE,  April  9th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  step  taken  by  New  Jersey  was  certainly  a 
rash  one,  and  will  furnish  fresh  pretexts  to  unwilling  States  for 
withholding  their  contributions.  In  one  point  of  view,  how 
ever,  it  furnishes  a  salutary  lesson.  Is  it  possible,  with  such  an 
example  before  our  eyes  of  impotency  in  the  federal  system,  to 
remain  sceptical  with  regard  to  the  necessity  of  infusing  more 

230  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

energy  into  it?  A  Government  cannot  long  stand  which  is 
obliged,  in  the  ordinary  course  of  its  administration,  to  court  a 
compliance  with  its  constitutional  acts,  from  a  member  not  of 
the  most  powerful  order,  situated  within  the  immediate  verge 
of  authority,  and  apprised  of  every  circumstance  which  should 
remonstrate  against  disobedience. 

The  question  whether  it  be  possible  and  worth  while  to  pre 
serve  the  Union  of  the  States  must  be  speedily  decided  some 
way  or  other.  Those  who  are  indifferent  to  its  preservation 
would  do  well  to  look  forward  to  the  consequences  of  its  ex 
tinction.  The  prospect  to  my  eye  is  a  gloomy  one  indeed. 

I  am  glad  to  hear  that  the  opposition  to  the  impost  is  likely 
to  be  overcome.  It  is  an  encouragement  to  persevere  in  good 
measures.  I  am  afraid,  at  the  same  time,  that,  like  other  auxil 
iary  resources,  it  will  be  overrated  by  the  States,  and  slacken 
the  regular  efforts  of  taxation.  It  is  also  materially  short  of 
the  power  which  Congress  ought  to  have  with  regard  to  trade. 
It  leaves  the  door  unshut  against  a  commercial  warfare  among 
the  States,  our  trade  exposed  to  foreign  machinations,  and  the 
distresses  of  an  unfavorable  balance  very  little  checked.  The 
experience  of  European  Merchants  who  have  speculated  in  our 
trade  will  probably  check,  in  a  great  measure,  our  opportunities 
of  consuming  beyond  our  resources;  but  they  will  continue  to 
credit  us  as  far  as  our  coin,  in  addition  to  our  productions,  will 
extend,  and  our  experience  here  teaches  us  that  our  people  will 
extend  their  consumption  as  far  as  credit  can  be  obtained. 


ORAXGE,  May  12th,  178G. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last  was  of  March  18,  since  which  I  have 
been  favored  with  yours  of  the  8  and  9th  of  February.  Ban 
croft's  application  in  favour  of  Paradise,  inclosed  in  the  latter, 
shall  be  attended  to  as  far  as  the  case  will  admit,  though  I  see 
not  how  any  relief  can  be  obtained.  If  Mr.  Paradise  stands  on 
the  list  of  foreign  creditors,  his  agent  here  may  probably  con- 

ITSfi.  LETTERS.  231 

vort  his  securities  into  money  without  any  very  great  loss,  as 
they  rest  on  good  funds,  and  the  principal  is  in  a  course  of  pay 
ment.  If  he  stands  on  the  domestic  list,  as  I  presume  he  does, 
the  interest  only  is  provided  for,  and,  since  the  postponement  of 
the  taxes,  even  that  cannot  be  negociated  without  a  discount  of 
10  per  cent.,  at  least.  The  principal  cannot  be  turned  into  cash 
without  sinking  three-fourths  of  its  amount. 

Your  notes  having  got  into  print  in  France,  will  inevitably 
be  translated  back  and  published  in  that  form,  not  only  in  Eng 
land  but  in  America,  unless  you  give  out  the  original.  I  think, 
therefore,  you  owe  it  not  only  to  yourself,  but  to  the  place  you 
occupy  and  the  subjects  you  have  handled,  to  take  this  precau 
tion.  To  say  nothing  of  the  injury  which  will  certainly  result 
to  the  diction  from  a  translation  first  into  French  and  then 
back  into  English,  the  ideas  themselves  may  possibly  be  so  per 
verted  as  to  lose  their  propriety. 

The  books  which  you  have  been  so  good  as  to  forward  to  me 
are  so  well  assorted  to  my  wishes  that  no  suggestions  are  ne 
cessary  as  to  your  future  purchases.  A  copy  of  the  old  edition 
of  the  Encyclopedia  is  desirable,  for  the  reasons  you  mention; 
but  as  I  should  gratify  my  desire  in  this  particular  at  the  ex- 
pence  of  something  else  which  I  can  less  dispense  with,  I  must 
content  myself  with  the  new  Edition  for  the  present.  The 
watch  I  bought  in  Philadelphia,  though  a  pretty  good  one.  is 
probably  so  far  inferior  to  those  of  which  you  have  a  sample 
that  I  cannot  refuse  your  kind  offer  to  procure  me  one  of  the 
same  sort;  and  I  am  fancying  to  myself  so  many  little  gratifica 
tions  from  the  pedometer  that  I  cannot  forego  that  addition. 

The  inscription  for  the  Statue  is  liable  to  Houdon's  criticism, 
and  is  in  every  respect  inferior  to  the  substitute  which  you 
have  copied  into  your  letter.  I  am  apprehensive,  notwithstand 
ing,  that  no  change  can  be  effected.  The  Assembly  will  want 
some  proper  ground  for  resuming  the  matter.  The  devices  for 
the  other  side  of  the  pedestal  are  well  chosen,  and  might,  I 
should  suppose,  be  applied  without  scruple  as  decorations  of  the 
artist.  I  counted,  myself,  on  the  addition  of  proper  ornaments, 

232  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1730. 

and  am  persuaded  that  such  a  liberty  could  give  offence  no 

The  execution  of  your  hints  with  regard  to  the  Marquis  and 
Rochambcau  would  be  no  less  pleasing  to  me  than  to  you.  I 
think  with  you,  also,  that  the  setting  up  the  busts  of  our  own 
worthies  would  not  be  doing  more  honour  to  them  than  to  our 
selves.  I  foresee,  however,  the  difficulty  of  overcoming  the 
popular  objection  against  every  measure  which  involves  expencc, 
particularly  where  the  importance  of  the  measure  will  be  felt  by 
a  few  only;  and  an  unsuccessful  attempt  would  be  worse  than 
no  attempt.  I  have  heard  nothing  as  to  the  Capitol.  I  men 
tioned  to  you  in  my  last  that  I  had  written  to  the  Attorney  on 
the  subject.  1  shall  have  an  opportunity  shortly  of  touching  on 
it  again  to  him. 

A  great  many  changes  have  taken  place  in  the  late  elections. 
The  principal  acquisitions  are  Col.  G.  Mason,  who,  I  am  told, 
was  pressed  into  the  service  at  the  instigation  of  General  Wash 
ington,  General  Nelson,  Mann  Page.  In  AlbGmarle,  both  the 
old  ones  declined  the  task.  Their  successors  are  George  and 
John  Nicholas.  Col.  Carter  was  again  an  unsuccessful  candi 
date.  I  have  not  heard  how  Mr.  Harrison  has  shaped  his  course. 
It  was  expected  that  he  would  stand  in  a  very  awkward  rela 
tion  both  to  Charles  City  and  to  Surrey,  and  would  probably 
succeed  in  neither.  Monroe  lost  his  election  in  King  George 
by  6  votes.  Mercer  did  his  by  the  same  number  in  Stafford. 
Neither  of  them  was  present,  or  they  would,  no  doubt,  have 
both  been  elected.  Col.  Bland  is  also  to  be  among  us.  Among 
the  many  good  things  which  may  be  expected  from  Col.  Mason, 
we  may  reckon,  perhaps,  an  effort  to  review  our  Constitution. 
The  loss  of  the  port  bill  will  certainly  be  one  condition  on 
which  we  are  to  receive  his  valuable  assistance.  I  am  not  with 
out  fears,  also,  concerning  his  federal  ideas.  The  last  time  I 
saw  him  he  seemed  to  have  come  about  a  good  deal  towards 
the  policy  of  giving  Congress  the  management  of  trade.  But 
he  lias  been  led  so  far  out  of  the  right  way  that  a  thorough  re 
turn  can  scarcely  be  hoped  for.  On  all  the  other  great  points. 

1786.  LETTERS.  233 

the  Revised  Code,  the  Assize  bill,  taxation,  paper  money,  &c., 
his  abilities  will  be  inestimable. 

Most  if  not  all  the  States,  except  Maryland,  have  appointed 
deputies  for  the  proposed  Convention  at  Annapolis.  The  refu 
sal  of  Maryland  to  appoint  proceeded,  as  I  am  informed  by  Mr. 
Daniel  Carroll,  from  a  mistaken  notion  that  the  measure  would 
derogate  from  the  authority  of  Congress,  and  interfere  with  the 
Revenue  system  of  April,  1783,  which  they  have  lately  recom 
mended  anew  to  the  States.  There  is  certainly  no  such  inter 
ference,  and  instead  of  lessening  the  authority  of  Congress,  the 
object  of  the  Convention  is  to  extend  it  over  commerce.  I  have 
no  doubt  that  on  a  reconsideration  of  the  matter  it  will  be 
viewed  in  a  different  light. 

The  internal  situation  of  this  State  is  growing  worse  and 
worse.  Our  specie  has  vanished.  The  people  are  again  plunged 
in  debt  to  the  Merchants,  and  these  circumstances,  added  to  the 
fall  of  Tobacco  in  Europe  and  a  probable  combination  among 
its  chief  purchasers  here,  have  reduced  that  article  to  20s.  The 
price  of  Corn  is,  in  many  parts  of  the  Country,  at  20s.  and  up 
wards  per  barrel.  In  this  part  it  is  not  more  than  15s.  Our 
spring  has  been  a  cool  and,  latterly,  a  dry  one;  of  course  it  is  a 
backward  one.  The  first  day  of  April  was  the  most  remark 
able  ever  experienced  in  this  climate.  It  snowed  and  hailed 
the  whole  day  in  a  storm  from  N.  E.,  and  the  Thermometer 
stood  at  4  o'clock  P.  M.  at  26°.  If  the  snow  had  fallen  in  the 
usual  way  it  would  have  been  8  or  10  inches  deep,  at  least;  but 
consisting  of  small  hard  globules,  mixed  with  small  hail,  and 
lying  on  the  ground  so  compact  and  firm  as  to  bear  a  man,  it 
was  less  than  half  of  that  depth. 

We  hear  from  Kentucky  that  the  inhabitants  are  still  at 
variance  with  their  savage  neighbours.  In  a  late  skirmish  sev 
eral  were  lost  on  both  sides.  On  that  of  the  whites  Col.  W. 
Christian  is  mentioned.  It  is  said  the  scheme  of  independence 
is  growing  unpopular  since  the  act  of  our  Assembly  has  brought 
the  question  fully  before  them.  Your  nephew,  Dabney  Carr, 
lias  been  some  time  at  the  Academy  in  Prince  Edward.  The 
President,  Mr.  Smith,  speaks  favorably  of  him. 

234  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178C. 

With  the  sincerest  affection,  I  remain,  dear  sir,  your  friend 
and  servant. 

P.  S.  I  have  taken  measures  for  procuring  the  Peccan  nuts, 
and  the  seed  of  the  sugar  Tree.  Are  there  no  other  things  here 
which  would  be  acceptable  on  a  like  account?  You  will  with 
hold  from  me  a  real  pleasure  if  you  do  not  favor  me  with  your 
commands  freely.  Perhaps  some  of  our  animal  curiosities  would 
enable  you  to  gratify  particular  characters  of  merit.  I  can, 
without  difficulty,  get  the  skins  of  all  our  common  and  of  some 
of  our  rarer  quadrupeds,  and  can  have  them  stuifed,  if  desired. 
It  is  possible,  also,  that  I  may  be  able  to  send  some  of  them 
alive.  I  lately  had  on  hand  a  female  opossum,  with  seven  young 
ones,  which  I  intended  to  have  reared,  for  the  purpose  partly  of 
experiments  myself,  and  partly  of  being  able  to  forward  them 
to  you  in  case  of  an  opportunity,  and  your  desiring  it.  Unfor 
tunately,  they  Imve  all  died.  But  I  find  they  can  be  got  at  any 
time,  almost,  in  the  spring  of  the  year,  and  if  the  season  be  too 
far  advanced  now,  they  may  certainly  be  had  earlier  in  the  next 

I  observe  that  in  your  notes  you  number  the  fallow  and  Roe- 
deer  among  the  native  quadrupeds  of  America.  As  Buffon  had 
admitted  the  fact,  it  was,  whether  true  or  erroneous,  a  good  ar 
gument,  no  doubt,  against  him.  But  I  am  persuaded  they  arc 
not  natives  of  the  new  continent.  Buffon  mentions  the  chcv- 
ruel,  in  particular,  as  abounding  in  Louisiana.  I  have  enquired 
of  several  credible  persons  who  have  traversed  the  western 
woods  extensively,  and  quite  down  to  New  Orleans,  all  of  whom 
affirm  that  no  other  than  our  common  deer  are  any  where  seen. 
Nor  can  I  find  any  written  evidence  to  the  contrary  that  de 
serves  notice.  You  have,  I  believe,  justly  considered  our  Mo- 
nax  as  the  Marmotte  of  Europe.  I  have  lately  had  an  oppor 
tunity  of  examining  a  female  one  with  some  attention.  Its 
weight,  after  it  had  lost  a  good  deal  of  blood,  was  5J  Ibs.  Its 
dimensions,  shape,  teeth,  and  structure  within,  as  far  as  I  could 
judge,  corresponded  in  substance  with  the  description  given  by 

1786.  LETTERS.  235 

D'Aubenton.  In  sundry  minute  circumstances  a  precise  cor 
respondence  was  also  observable.  The  principal  variations 
were:  1st,  in  the  face,  which  was  shorter  in  the  Monax  than  in 
the  proportions  of  the  Marmotte,  and  was  less  arched  about  the 
root  of  the  nose.  2nd,  in  the  feet,  each  of  the  forefeet  having  a 
fifth  nail,  about  J  of  an  inch  long,  growing  out  of  the  inward 
side  of  the  heel,  without  any  visible  toe.  From  this  particular 
it  would  seem  to  be  the  Marmotte  of  Poland,  called  the  Bobac, 
rather  than  the  Alpine  Marmotte.  3rd,  in  the  teats,  which  were 
8  only.  The  marmotte  in  Buffon  had  10.  4th,  in  several  circum 
stances  of  its  robe,  particularly  of  that  of  the  belly,  which  con 
sisted  of  a  short,  coarse,  thin  hair,  whereas  this  part  of  Buffon's 
marmotte  was  covered  with  a  thicker  fur  than  the  back,  &c. 

A  very  material  circumstance  in  the  comparison  remains  to 
be  ascertained.  The  European  Marmotte  is  in  the  class  of  those 
which  arc  dormant  during  the  winter.  No  person  here  of  whom 
I  have  enquired  can  decide  whether  this  be  a  quality  of  the 
Monax.  I  infer  that  it  is  of  the  dormant  class,  not  only  from 
its  similitude  to  the  Marmotte  in  other  respects,  but  from  the 
sensible  coldness  of  the  Monax  I  examined,  compared  with  the 
human  body,  although  the  vital  heat  of  quadrupeds  is  said,  in 
general,  to  be  greater  than  that  of  man.  This  inferiority  of 
heat  being  a  characteristic  of  animals  which  become  torpid 
from  cold,  I  should  consider  it  as  deciding  the  quality  of  the 
Monax  in  this  respect,  were  it  not  that  the  subject  of  my  exam 
ination,  though  it  remained  alive  several  days,  was  so  crippled 
and  apparently  dying  the  whole  time,  that  its  actual  heat  could 
not  fairly  be  taken  for  the  degree  of  its  natural  heat.  If  it  had 
recovered,  I  intended  to  have  made  a  trial  with  the  Thermom 
eter.  I  now  propose  to  have,  if  I  can,  one  of  their  habitations 
discovered  during  the  summer,  and  to  open  it  on  some  cold  day 
next  winter.  This  will  fix  the  matter.  There  is  another  cir 
cumstance  which  belongs  to  a  full  comparison  of  the  two  ani 
mals.  The  Marmotte  of  Europe  is  said  to  be  an  inhabitant  of 
the  upper  region  of  mountains  only.  Whether  our  Monax  be 
confined  to  mountainous  situations  or  not,  I  have  not  yet  learnt. 
If  it  be  not  found  as  a  permanent  inhabitant  of  the  level  coun- 

236  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

try,  it  certainly  descends  occasionally  into  the  plains  which  are 
in  the  neighborhood  of  mountains. 

I  also  compared,  a  few  days  ago,  one  of  our  moles  with  the 
male  one  described  in  Buffon.  It  weighed  2  ounces  11  pents. 
Its  length,  the  end  of  its  snout  to  the  root  of  the  tail,  was  5 
inches  3  lines,  English  measure.  That  described  in  Buffon  was 
not  weighed,  I  believe.  Its  length  was  5  inches,  French  meas 
ure.  The  external  and  internal  correspondence  seemed  to  be 
too  exact  for  distinct  species.  There  was  a  difference,  never 
theless,  in  two  circumstances,  one  of  which  is  not  unworthy  of 
notice,  and  the  other  of  material  consequence  in  the  compari 
son.  The  first  difference  was  in  the  tail,  that  of  the  mole  here 
being  10  J  English  lines  only  in  the  length,  and  naked,  whereas 
that  of  Buffon's  mole  was  14  French  lines  in  length,  and  covered 
with  hair.  If  the  hair  was  included  in  the  latter  measure,  the 
difference  in  the  length  ought  scarcely  to  be  noticed.  The  sec 
ond  difference  lay  in  the  teeth.  The  mole  in  Buffon  had  44. 
That  which  I  examined  had  but  33;  one  of  those  on  the  left  side 
of  the  upper  jaw,  and  next  to  the  principal  cutters,  was  so  small 
as  to  be  scarcely  visible  to  the  natural  eye,  and  had  no  corre 
sponding  tooth  on  the  opposite  side.  Supposing  this  defect  of  a 
corresponding  tooth  to  be  accidental,  a  difference  of  ten  teeth 
still  remains. 

If  these  circumstances  should  not  be  thought  to  invalidate 
the  identity  of  species,  the  mole  will  stand  as  an  exception  to 
the  Theory  which  supposes  no  animal  to  be  common  to  the  two 
continents  which  cannot  bear  the  cold  of  the  region  where  they 
join,  since,  according  to  Buffon,  this  species  of  mole  is  not  found 
"dans  les  climats  froids  ou  la  terre  est  glace  pendant  la  plus 
grande  partie  de  1'annee,"  and  it  cannot  be  suspected  of  such  a 
journey  during  a  short  summer  as  would  head  the  sea  which 
separates  the  two  continents.  I  suspect  that  several  of  our 
quadrupeds  which  are  not  peculiar  to  the  new  continent  will 
be  found  to  be  exceptions  to  this  Theory,  if  the  mole  should 
not.  The  Marmotte  itself  is  not  an  animal  taken  notice  of  very 
far  to  the  north,  and  as  it  moves  slowly,  and  is  deprived  of  its 
locomotive  powers  altogether  by  cold,  cannot  be  supposed  to 

1786.  LETTERS.  237 

have  travelled  the  road  which  leads  from  the  old  to  the  New 
World.  It  is,  perhaps,  questionable  whether  any  of  the  dor 
mant  animals,  if  any  such  be  really  common  to  Europe  and 
America,  can  have  emigrated  from  one  to  the  other. 

I  have  thought  that  the  cuts  of  the  Quadrupeds  in  Buffon,  if 
arranged  in  frames,  would  make  both  an  agreeable  and  instruc 
tive  piece  of  wall  furniture.  What  would  be  the  cost  of  them 
in  such  a  form?  I  suppose  they  are  not  to  be  had  coloured  to 
the  life,  and  would,  besides,  be  too  costly.  What  is  the  price 
of  Buffon's  birds,  colored? 

Your  letter  of  28  October  has  never  come  to  hand. 


ORANGE,  May  13th.  1786. 

DEAR  SIR,—  ********** 
I  think,  with  you,  that  it  would  have  an  odd  appearance  for 
two  Conventions  to  be  sitting  at  the  same  time  with  powers  in 
part  concurrent.  The  reasons  you  give  seem  also  to  be  valid 
against  augmenting  the  powers  of  that  which  is  to  meet  at  An 
napolis.  I  am  not  surprized,  therefore,  at  the  embarrassment 
of  Congress  in  the  present  conjuncture.  Will  it  not  be  best,  on 
the  whole,  to  suspend  measures  for  a  more  thorough  cure  of  our 
federal  system  till  the  partial  experiment  shall  have  been  made  ? 
If  the  spirit  of  the  Conventioners  should  be  friendly  to  the 
Union,  and  their  proceedings  well  conducted,  their  return  into 
the  councils  of  their  respective  States  will  greatly  facilitate  any 
subsequent  measures  which  may  be  set  on  foot  by  Congress,  or 
by  any  of  the  States. 

Great  changes  have  taken  place  in  the  late  elections.  I  re 
gret  much  that  we  are  not  to  have  your  aid.  It  will  be  greatly 
needed,  I  am  sure.  Mercer,  it  seems,  lost  his  election  by  the 
same  number  of  votes  as  left  you  out.  He  was  absent  at  the 
time,  or  he  would  no  doubt  have  been  elected.  Have  you  seen 
his  pamphlet?  You  will  have  heard  of  the  election  of  Col. 
>>lason,  General  Nelson,  Mann  Page,  G.  Nicholas,  Jn°  Nicholas, 

238  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1780. 

and  Col.  Bland.  Col.  Mason  will  be  an  inestimable  acquisi 
tion  on  most  of  the  great  points.  On  the  port  bill  he  is  to  be 
equally  dreaded.  In  fact,  I  consider  that  measure  as  lost  almost 
at  any  rate.  There  was  a  majority  against  it  last  session  if  it 
had  been  skilfully  made  use  of.  To  force  the  trade  to  Norfolk 
and  Alexandria,  without  preparations  for  it  at  those  places, 
will  be  considered  as  injurious.  And  so  little  ground  is  there 
for  confidence  in  the  stability  of  the  Legislature,  that  no  prep 
arations  will  ever  be  made  in  consequence  of  a  preceding  law. 
The  transition  must  of  necessity,  therefore,  be  at  any  time  ab 
rupt  and  inconvenient.  I  am  somewhat  apprehensive,  likewise, 
that  Col.  Mason  may  not  be  fully  cured  of  his  anti-federal  pre 

We  hear  from  Kentucky  that  the  savages  continue  to  disquiet 
them.  Col.  W.  Christian,  it  is  said,  lately  lost  his  life  in  pur 
suing  a  few  who  had  made  an  inroad  on  the  settlement.  We 
are  told,  too,  that  the  proposed  separation  is  growing  very  un 
popular  among  them. 


ORANGE,  June  4th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — At  the  date  of  my  last,  I  expected  I  should  by 
this  time  have  been  on  the  journey  which  promises  the  pleasure 
of  taking  you  by  the  hand  in  New  York.  Several  circumstances 
have  produced  a  delay  in  my  setting  out  which  I  did  not  cal 
culate  upon,  and  which  are  like  to  continue  it  for  eight  or  ten 
days  to  come.  My  journey  will  also  be  rendered  tedious  by  the 
route  which  I  shall  pursue.  I  have  some  business  which  makes 
it  expedient  for  me  to  take  Winchester  and  Lancaster  in  my 
way,  and  some  duties  of  consanguinity  which  will  detain  me 
some  days  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  former.  If  I  have  an  op 
portunity  I  will  write  you  again  before  I  set  out;  and  if  I  should 
not,  I  will  do  it  immediately  on  my  reaching  Philadelphia.  You 
will  not  write  after  the  receipt  of  this. 

I  imagine  you  get  from  Mr.  Jones  better  information  as  to 

17SG.  LETTERS.  239 

the  back  country,  as  well  as  concerning  our  more  immediate  af 
fairs,  tli an  I  can  give  you.  The  death  of  Christian  seems  to  be 
confirmed.  The  disinclination  of  Kentucky  to  a  separation  is 
also  repeated  with  strong  circumstances  of  probability.  Our 
staple  continues  low.  The  people  have  got  in  debt  to  the  mer 
chants,  who  set  their  own  price,  of  course.  There  are,  perhaps, 
other  causes  also,  besides  the  fall  of  the  market  in  Europe, 
which,  of  itself,  does  not  explain  the  matter.  One  of  them  may 
be  the  scarcity  of  money,  which  is  really  great. 

The  advocates  for  paper  money  are  making  the  most  of  this 
handle.  I  begin  to  fear  exceedingly  that  no  efforts  will  be  suf 
ficient  to  parry  this  evil.  The  election  of  Col.  Mason  is  the 
main  counterpoise  for  my  hopes  against  the  popular  cry.  Mann 
Page  and  General  Nelson  will  also,  I  flatter  myself,  be  valuable 
fellow-labourers.  Our  situation  is  truly  embarrassing.  It  can 
not,  perhaps,  be  affirmed  that  there  is  gold  and  silver  enough 
in  the  Country  to  pay  the  next  tax.  "What,  then,  is  to  be  done? 
Is  there  any  other  alternative  but  to  emit  paper,  or  to  postpone 
the  collection?  These  are  the  questions  which  will  be  rung  in 
our  ears  by  the  very  men  whose  past  measures  have  plunged  us 
into  our  difficulties.  But  I  will  not  plague  you  with  our  diffi 
culties  here.  You  have  enough  of  them,  I  am  sure,  where  you 
are.  Present  my  best  respects  to  Col.  Gray  son  and  your  other 
colleagues,  and  believe  me  to  be,  your's  affectionately. 


ORANGE,  June  21st,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  31st  ult.  did  not  come  to  hand 
till  two  days  ago.  As  I  expect  to  see  you  in  a  short  time,  I 
will  suspend  the  full  communication  of  my  ideas  on  the  subject 
of  it  till  I  have  that  pleasure. 

I  cannot,  however,  forbear  in  the  mean  time  expressing  my 
amazement  that  a  thought  should  be  entertained  of  surrender 
ing  the  Mississippi,  and  of  guarantying  the  possessions  of  Spain 

240  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178G. 

in  America.  In  the  first  place,  has  not  Virginia,  have  not  Con 
gress  themselves,  and  the  Ministers  of  Congress  by  their  orders, 
asserted  the  right  of  those  who  live  on  the  waters  of  the  Mis 
sissippi  to  use  it  as  the  high  road  given  by  nature  to  the  sea  ? 
This  being  the  case,  have  Congress  any  more  authority  to  say 
that  the  Western  citizens  of  Virginia  shall  not  pass  through 
the  capes  of  the  Mississippi  than  to  say  that  her  Eastern  citi 
zens  shall  not  pass  through  the  capes  Henry  and  Charles  ?  It 
should  be  remembered  that  the  United  States  are  not  now  ex 
tricating  themselves  from  war — a  crisis  which  often  knows  no 
law  but  that  of  necessity.  The  measure  in  question  would  be  a 
voluntary  barter,  in  time  of  profound  peace,  of  the  rights  of 
one  part  of  the  empire  to  the  interests  of  another  part.  What 
would  Massachusetts  say  to  a  proposition  for  ceding  to  Britain 
her  right  of  fishery  as  the  price  of  some  stipulations  in  favor 
of  Tobacco? 

Again :  can  there  be  a  more  short-sighted  or  dishonorable 
policy  than  to  concur  with  Spain  in  frustrating  the  benevolent 
views  of  nature,  to  sell  the  affections  of  our  ultra-montane 
brethren,  to  depreciate  the  richest  fund  we  possess,  to  distrust 
an  ally  we  know  to  be  able  to  befriend  us,  and  to  have  an  in 
terest  in  doing  it  against  the  only  nation  whose  enmity  we  can 
dread,  and  at  the  same  time  to  court  by  the  most  precious 
sacrifices  the  alliance  of  a  nation  whose  impotency  is  notorious, 
who  has  given  no  proof  of  regard  for  us,  and  the  genius  of 
whose  Government,  religion,  and  manners,  unfits  them  of  all  the 
nations  in  Christendom  for  a  coalition  with  this  country?  Can 
anything,  too,  as  you  well  observe,  be  more  unequal  than  a 
stipulation  which  is  to  open  all  our  ports  to  her,  and  some  only, 
and  those  the  least  valuable,  of  hers,  to  us ;  and  which  places 
the  commercial  freedom  of  our  ports  against  the  fettered  regu 
lations  of  those  in  Spain?  I  always  thought  the  stipulation 
with  France  and  Holland  of  the  privileges  of  the  most  favoured 
nation  unequal,  and  only  to  be  justified  by  the  influence  which 
the  treaties  could  not  fail  to  have  on  the  event  of  the  war.  A 
stipulation  putting  Spanish  subjects  on  the  same  footing  with 
our  own  citizens  is  carrying  the  evil  still  farther,  without  the 

1786.  LETTERS.  241 

same  pretext  for  it,  and  is  the  more  to  be  dreaded,  as  by 
making  her  the  most  favored  nation  it  would  let  in  the  other 
nation  with  whom  we  are  now  connected  to  the  same  privileges, 
whenever  they  may  find  it  their  interest  to  make  the  same 
compensation  for  them,  whilst  we  have  not  a  reciprocal  rhrl:t 
to  force  them  into  such  an  arrangement  in  case  our  interest 
should  dictate  it. 

A  guaranty  is,  if  possible,  still  more  objectionable.  If  it  be 
insidious,  we  plunge  ourselves  into  infamy;  if  sincere,  into  ob 
ligations  the  extent  of  which  cannot  easily  be  determined.  In 
either  case  we  get  farther  into  the  labyrinth  of  European  poli 
tics,  from  which  we  ought  religiously  to  keep  ourselves  as  free 
as  possible.  And  what  is  to  be  gained  by  such  a  rash  step? 
Will  any  man  in  his  senses  pretend  that  our  territory  needs 
such  a  safeguard,  or  that,  if  it  were  in  danger,  it  is  the  arm  of 
Spain  that  is  to  save  it?  Viewing  the  matter  in  this  light.  I 
cannot  but  flatter  myself  that  if  the  attempt  you  apprehend 
should  be  made,  it  will  be  rejected  with  becoming  indignation. 

I  am  less  sanguine  as  to  the  issue  of  the  other  matter  con- 
ta-ined  in  your  letter.  I  know  the  mutual  prejudices  which 
impede  every  overture  towards  a  just  and  final  settlement  of 
claims  and  accounts.  I  persist  in  the  opinion  that  a  proper 
nnd  speedy  ndjustment  is  unattainable  from  any  assembly  con 
stituted  as  Congress  is,  and  acting  under  the  impulse  which 
they  must.  I  need  not  repeat  to  you  the  plan  which  has  always 
appeared  to  me  most  likely  to  answer  the  purpose.  In  the 
mean  time  it  is  mortifying  to  see  the  other  States,  or  rather 
their  Representatives,  pursuing  a  course  which  will  make  the 
case  more  and  more  difficult,  and  putting  arms  into  the  hands 
of  the  enemies  to  every  amendment  of  our  federal  system.  God 
knows  that  they  are  formidable  enough  in  this  State  without 
such  an  advantage.  With  it,  their  triumph  will  be  certain  and 
easy.  But  I  have  been  led  much  farther  already  than  I  pro 
posed,  and  will  only  that 

I  am  with  the  sincerest  affection,  your  friend  and  serv. 

VOL.  i.  16 

242  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786 


PHILADELPHIA,  Aug.  12th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last,  of  the  19th  of  June,  intimated  that  my 
next  would  be  from  New  York  or  this  place.  I  expected  it 
would  rather  have  been  from  the  former,  which  I  left  a  few  days 
ago;  but  my  time  was  so  taken  up  there  with  my  friends  and 
some  business,  that  I  thought  it  best  to  postpone  it  till  my  re 
turn  here.  My  ride  through  Virginia,  Maryland,  and  Pennsyl 
vania,  was  in  the  midst  of  harvest.  I  found  the  crops  of  wheat 
in  the  upper  parts  of  the  two  former  considerably  injured  by 
the  wet  weather,  which  my  last  described  as  so  destructive  in 
the  lower  parts  of  those  States.  The  computed  loss  where  I 
passed  was  about  one- third.  The  loss  in  the  Rye  was  much 
greater.  It  was  admitted,  however,  that  the  crops  of  both 
would  have  been  unusually  large  but  for  this  casualty.  Through 
out  Pennsylvania  the  wheat  was  unhurt,  and  the  Rye  very  little 

As  I  came  by  the  way  of  Winchester  and  crossed  the  Po tow- 
mac  at  Harper's  Ferry,  I  had  an  opportunity  of  viewing  the 
magnificent  scene  which  nature  here  presents.  I  viewed  it,  how 
ever,  under  great  disadvantages.  The  air  was  so  thick  that 
distant  objects  were  not  visible  at  all,  and  near  ones  not  dis 
tinctly  so.  We  ascended  the  mountain,  also,  at  a  wrong  place, 
fatigued  ourselves  much  in  traversing  it  before  we  gained  the 
right  position,  were  threatened  during  the  whole  time  with  a 
thunder  storm,  and  finally  overtaken  by  it.  Had  the  weather 
been  favorable  the  prospect  would  have  appeared  to  peculiar 
advantage,  being  enriched  with  the  harvest  in  its  full  maturity, 
which  filled  every  vale  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach. 

I  had  the  additional  pleasure  here  of  seeing  the  progress  of 
the  works  on  the  Potowmac.  About  50  hands  were  employed 
at  these  falls,  or  rather  rapids,  who  seemed  to  have  overcome 
the  greatest  difficulties.  Their  plan  is  to  slope  the  fall  by  open 
ing  the  bed  of  the  river,  in  such  a  manner  as  to  render  a  lock 
unnecessary,  and,  by  means  of  ropes  fastened  to  the  rocks,  to 
pull  up  and  ease  down  the  boats  where  the  current  is  most 

1786.  LETTERS.  243 

rapid.  At  the  principal  falls  150  hands,  I  was  told,  were  at 
work,  and  that  the  length  of  the  canal  will  be  reduced  to  less 
than  a  mile,  and  carried  through  a  vale  which  does  not  require 
it  to  be  deep.  Locks  will  here  be  unavoidable.  The  under 
takers  are  very  sanguine.  Some  of  them  who  are  most  so  talk 
of  having  the  entire  work  finished  in  three  years.  I  can  give 
no  particular  account  of  the  progress  on  James  River,  but  am 
told  it  is  very  flattering.  I  am  still  less  informed  of  what  is 
doing  with  North  Carolina  towards  a  canal  between  her  and 
our  waters.  The  undertaking  on  the  Susquehannah  is  said  to 
be  in  such  forwardness  as  to  leave  no  doubt  of  its  success. 

A  negociation  is  set  on  foot  between  Pennsylvania,  Mary 
land,  and  Delaware,  for  a  canal  from  the  head  of  Chesapeak  to 
the  Delaware.  Maryland,  as  1  understand,  heretofore  opposed 
the  undertaking,  and  Pennsylvania  means  now  to  make  her 
consent  to  it  a  condition  on  which  the  opening  of  the  Susque 
hannah  within  the  limits  of  Pennsylvania  will  depend.  Unless 
this  is  permitted,  the  opening  undertaken  within  the  limits  of 
Maryland  will  be  of  little  account.  It  is  lucky  that  both  par- 
tle-s  axc_so  dependent  on  each  other  as  to  be  thus  mutually  forced 
into  measures  of  general  utility.  I  am  told  that  Pennsylvania 
has  complied  with  the  joint  request  of  Virginia  and  Maryland 
for  a  road  between  the  head  of  Potowmac  and  the  waters  of 
the  Ohio,  and  the  secure  and  free  use  of  the  latter  through  her 

These  fruits  of  the  Revolution  do  great  honour  to  it.  I  wish 
all  our  proceedings  merited  the  same  character.  Unhappily, 
there  are  but  too  many  belonging  to  the  opposite  side  of  the 
account.  At  the  head  of  these  is  to  be  put  the  general  rage  for 
paper  money.  Pennsylvania  and  North  Carolina  took  the  lead 
in  this  folly.  In  the  former  the  sum  emitted  was  not  consider 
able,  the  funds  for  sinking  it  were  good,  and  it  was  not  made  a 
legal  tender.  It  issued  into  circulation  partly  by  way  of  loan 
to  individuals  on  landed  security,  partly  by  way  of  payment  to 
the  public  creditors.  Its  present  depreciation  is  about  10  or  12 
per  cent.  In  North  Carolina  the  sums  issued  at  different  times 
have  been  of  greater  amount,  and  it  has  constantly  been  a  ten- 

244  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

der.  It  issued  partly  in  payments  to  military  creditors,  and, 
latterly,  in  purchases  of  Tobacco  on  public  account.  The 
Agent,  T  am  informed,  was  authorised  to  give  nearly  the  double 
of  the  current  price;  and  as  the  paper  was  a  tender,  debtors  ran 
to  him  with  their  Tobacco,  and  the  creditors  paid  the  expence 
of  the  farce.  The  depreciation  is  said  to  be  25  or  30  per  cent, 
in  that  State.  South  Carolina  was  the  next  in  order.  Her 
emission  was  in  the  way  of  loans  to  individuals,  and  is  not  a 
legal  tender.  But  land  is  there  made  a  tender  in  case  of  suits, 
which  shuts  the  Courts  of  Justice,  and  is,  perhaps,  as  great  an 
evil.  The  friends  of  the  emission  say  that  it  has  not  yet  depre 
ciated,  but  they  admit  that  the  price  of  commodities  has  risen, 
which  is  evidently  the  form  in  which  depreciation  will  first  shew 

New  Jersey  has  just  issued  <£30,000  (dollar  at  7s.  6c7.)  in 
loans  to  her  citizens.  It  is  a  legal  tender.  An  addition  of 
XI 00, 000  is  shortly  to  follow  on  the  same  principles.  The  ter 
ror  of  popular  associations  stifles,  as  yet,  an  overt  discrimina 
tion  between  it  and  specie;  but  as  this  does  not  operate  in  Phil 
adelphia  and  New  York,  where  all  the  trade  of  New  Jersey  is 
carried  on,  its  depreciation  has  already  commenced  in  those 
places,  and  must  soon  communicate  itself  to  New  Jersey.  New 
York  is  striking  £200,000  (dollar  at  8s.)  on  the  plan  of  loans 
to  her  citizens.  It  is  made  a  legal  tender  in  case  of  suits  only. 
As  it  is  but  just  issuing  from  the  press,  its  depreciation  exists 
only  in  the  foresight  of  those  who  reason  without  prejudice  on 
the  subject.  In  Rhode  Island,  £100,000  (dollar  at  6s.)  has 
lately  been  issued  in  loans  to  individuals.  It  is  not  only  made 
a  tender,  but  severe  penalties  annexed  to  the  least  attempt,  di 
rect  or  indirect,  to  give  a  preference  to  specie.  Precautions 
dictated  by  distrust  in  the  rulers  soon  produced  it  in  the  peo 
ple.  Supplies  were  withheld  from  the  Market,  the  Shops  were 
shut,  popular  meetings  ensued,  and  the  State  remains  in  a  sort 
of  convulsion. 

The  Legislature  of  Massachusetts  at  their  last  session  rejected 
a  paper  emission  by  a  large  majority.  Connecticut  and  New 
Hampshire,  also,  have  as  yet  forborne,  but  symptoms  of  danger, 

1786.  LETTERS.  245 

it  is  said,  begin  to  appear  in  the  latter.  The  Senate  of  Mary 
land  has  hitherto  been  a  bar  to  paper  in  that  State.  The 
clamor  for  it  is  now  universal,  and  as  the  periodical  election  of 
the  Senate  happens  at  this  crisis,  and  the  whole  body  is,  un 
luckily,  by  their  Constitution,  to  be  chosen  at  once,  it  is  proba 
ble  that  a  paper  emission  will  be  the  result.  If,  in  spite  of  the 
zeal  exerted  against  the  old  Senate,  a  majority  of  them  should 
be  re-elected,  it  will  require  all  their  firmness  to  withstand  the 
popular  torrent.  Of  the  affairs  of  Georgia  I  know  as  little  as 
of  those  of  Kamskatska. 

Whether  Virginia  is  to  remain  exempt  from  the  epidemic 
malady  will  depend  on  the  ensuing  Assembly.  My  hopes  rest 
chiefly  on  the  exertions  of  Col.  Mason,  and  the  failure  of  the 
experiments  elsewhere.  That  these  must  fail  is  morally  certain; 
for  besides  the  proofs  of  it  already  visible  in  some  States,  and 
the  intrinsic  defect  of  the  paper  in  all,  this  fictitious  money  will 
rather  feed  than  cure  the  spirit  of  extravagance  which  sends 
away  the  coin  to  pay  the  unfavorable  balance,  and  will  there 
fore  soon  be  carried  to  market  to  buy  up  coin  for  that  purpose. 
Frjom  that  moment  depreciation  is  inevitable.  The  value  of 
money  consists  in  the  uses  it  will  serve.  Specie  will  serve  all 
the  uses  of  paper;  paper  will  not  serve  one  of  the  essential  uses 
of  specie.  The  paper,  therefore,  will  be  less  valuable  than  spe 
cie.  Among  the  numerous  ills  with  which  this  practice  is  preg 
nant,  one,  I  find,  is,  that  it  is  producing  the  same  warfare  and 
retaliation  among  the. States  as  were  produced  by  the  State 
regulations  of  commerce.  Massachusetts  and  Connecticut  have 
passed  laws  enabling  their  citizens  who  are  debtors  to  citizens 
of  States  having  paper  money,  to  pay  their  debts  in  the  same 
manner  as  their  citizens  who  are  creditors  to  citizens  of  the  lat 
ter  States  are  liable  to  be  paid  their  debts. 

The  States  which  have  appointed  deputies  to  Annapolis  are 
New  Hampshire,  Massachusetts,  Rhode  Island,  New  York,  New 
Jersey,  Pennsylvania,  Delaware,  and  Virginia.  Connecticut 
declined,  not  from  a  dislike  to  the  object,  but  to  the  idea  of  a 
Convention,  which  it  seems  has  been  rendered  obnoxious  by 
some  internal  Conventions,  which  embarrassed  the  Legislative 

246  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

authority.  Maryland,  or  rather  her  Senate,  negatived  an  ap 
pointment,  because  they  supposed  the  measure  might  interfere 
with  the  plans  or  prerogatives  of  Congress.  North  Carolina 
has  had  no  Legislative  meeting  since  the  proposition  was  com 
municated.  South  Carolina  supposed  she  had  sufficiently  sig 
nified  her  concurrence  in  a  general  regulation  of  trade  by  vest 
ing  the  power  in  Congress  for  15  years.  Georgia  -  — . 
Many  Gentlemen,  both  within  and  without  Congress,  wish  to 
make  this  meeting  subservient  to  a  plenipotentiary  Convention 
for  amending  the  Confederation.  Tho7  my  wishes  are  in  favor 
of  such  an  event,  yet  I  despair  so  much  of  its  accomplishment 
at  the  present  crisis  that  I  do  not  extend  my  views  beyond  a 
commercial  Reform.  To  speak  the  truth,  I  almost  despair  even 
of  this.  You  will  find  the  cause  in  a  measure  now  before  Con 
gress,  of  which  you  will  receive  the  detail  from  Col.  Monroe. 
I  content  myself  with  hinting  that  it  is  a  proposed  treaty  with 
Spain,  one  article  of  which  shuts  up  the  Mississippi  for  twenty- 
five  or  thirty  years.  Passing  by  the  other  Southern  States, 
figure  to  yourself  the  effect  of  such  a  stipulation  on  the  Assem 
bly  of  Virginia,  already  jealous  of  Northern  politics,  and  which 
will  be  composed  of  about  thirty  members  from  the  Western 
waters;  of  a  majority  of  others  attached  to  the  Western  Coun 
try  from  interests  of  their  own,  of  their  friend,  or  their  constit 
uent;  and  of  many  others  who,  though  indifferent  to  Mississippi, 
will  zealously  play  off  the  disgust  of  their  friends  against  fed 
eral  measures.  Figure  to  yourself  its  effect  on  the  people  at 
large  on  the  western  waters,  who  are  impatiently  waiting  for  a 
favorable  result  to  the  negociation  of  Gardoqui,  and  who  will 
consider  themselves  as  sold  by  their  Atlantic  brethren.  Will 
it  be  an  unnatural  consequence  if  they  consider  themselves  ab 
solved  from  every  federal  tie,  and  court  some  protection  for 
their  betrayed  rights?  This  protection  will  appear  more  at 
tainable  from  the  maritime  power  of  Britain  than  from  any  other 
quarter;  and  Britain  will  be  more  ready  than  any  other  nation 
to  seize  an  opportunity  of  embroiling  our  affairs. 

What  may  be  the  motive  with  Spain  to  satisfy  herself  with  a 
temporary  occlusion  of  the  Mississippi,  at  the  same  time  that 

1786.  LETTERS.  247 

she  holds  forth  our  claim  to  it  as  absolutely  inadmissible,  i? 
matter  of  conjecture  only.  The  patrons  of  the  measure  in  Con 
gress  contend  that  the  Minister,  who  at  present  governs  the 
Spanish  councils,  means  only  to  disembarrass  himself  at  the 
expence  of  his  successors.  I  should  rather  suppose  he  means  to 
work  a  total  separation  of  interest  and  affection  between  west 
ern  and  eastern  settlements,  and  to  foment  the  jealousy  between 
the  Eastern  and  Southern  States.  By  the  former,  the  population 
of  the  Western  Country,  it  may  be  expected,  will  be  checked, 
and  the  Mississippi  so  far  secured;  and,  by  both,  the  general 
security  of  Spanish  America  be  promoted. 

As  far  as  I  can  learn,  the  assent  of  nine  States  in  Congress 
will  not  at  this  time  be  got  to  the  projected  treaty;  but  an  un 
successful  attempt  by  six  or  seven  will  favor  the  views  of  Spain, 
and  be  fatal,  I  fear,  to  an  augmentation  of  the  federal  authority, 
if  not  to  the  little  now  existing.  My  personal  situation  is  ren 
dered  by  this  business  particularly  mortifying.  Ever  since  I 
have  been  out  of  Congress  I  have  been  inculcating  on  our  As 
sembly  a  confidence  in  the  equal  attention  of  Congress  to  the 
rjghts  and  interests  of  every  part  of  the  Republic,  and  on  the 
Western  members,  in  particular,  the  necessity  of  making  the 
Union  respectable  by  new  powers  to  Congress,  if  they  wished 
Congress  to  negociate  with  effect  for  the  Mississippi. 

I  leave  to  Col.  Monroe  the  giving  you  a  particular  account 
of  the  impost.  The  acts  of  Pennsylvania,  Delaware,  and  New 
York,  must  be  revised  and  amended  in  material  points  before 
it  can  be  put  in  force,  and  even  then  the  fetters  put  on  the  col 
lection  by  some  other  States  will  make  it  a  very  awkward  busi 
ness.  Your  favor  of  25th  of  April,  from  London,  found  me 
here.  My  letter  from  Richmond  at  the  close  of  the  Assembly 
will  have  informed  you  of  the  situation  in  which  British  debts 
stand  in  Virginia.  Unless  Congress  say  something  on  the  sub 
ject,  I  do  not  think  anything  will  be  done  by  the  next  session. 
The  expectations  of  the  British  Merchants  coincide  with  the 
information  I  had  received,  as  your  opinion  of  the  steps  proper 
to  be  taken  by  the  Assembly  do  with  those  for  which  I  have 
ineffectually  contended.  The  merits  of  Mr.  Paradise  will  ensure 

248  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  use. 

every  attention  from  me  to  his  claim,  as  far  as  general  principles 
will  admit. 

The  catalogues  sent  by  Mr.  Skipwith  I  do  not  expect  to  re 
ceive  till  I  get  back  to  Virginia.  If  you  meet  with  "  Grcecorum 
Respublicas  ab  Ubbone  Emmio  descriptae,"  Sugd.  Batavorum, 
1632,  pray  get  it  for  me. 


PHILADELPHIA,  August  15th.  1786. 

DEAR  SIR-  *  *  *  *  *  * 
I  am  sorry  the  development  of  the  interesting  subject  before 
Congress*  had  so  little  effect  on  the  members.  I  did  not  see 
General  St.  Clair,  and  if  1  had,  my  acquaintance  is  too  slender 
to  have  warranted  my  broaching  a  conversation  with  him.  I 
have  conferred  freely  with  Mr.  Wilson.  What  his  ultimate 
opinion  may  be  on  a  full  view  of  the  measure  in  its  details,  I 
cannot  say.  I  think  he  is  not  unaware  of  strong  objections 
against  it,  particularly  as  it  tends  to  defeat  the  object  of  the 
meeting  at  Annapolis,  from  which  he  has  great  expectations. 


PHILADELPHIA,  August  17th,  1786. 

DK  SIR, — I  have  your  favor  of  the  14th  inst.  The  expedientt 
of  which  you  ask  my  opinion  has  received,  as  it  deserved,  all  the 

*  Jay's  proposition. 

f  "It  has  occurred  to  Grayson  and  myself  to  propose  to  Congress  that  nego- 
ciations  be  carried  on  with  Spain  upon  the  following  principles  :  1.  That  exports 
•be  admitted  through  the  Mississippi  to  some  free  port,  perhaps  New  Orleans,  to 
pay  there  a  toll  to  Spain  of  about  3  per  centum  ad  valorem,  and  to  be  carried 
thence  under  the  regulations  of  Congress.  2.  That  imports  shall  pass  into  the 
western  Country  through  the  ports  of  the  United  States  only.  3.  That  this  sac 
rifice  be  given  up  to  obtain  in  other  respects  a  beneficial  treaty." — Extract  from 
Mr.  Monroe's  letter  referred  to. 

1786.  LETTERS.  249 

consideration  which  the  time  and  other  circumstances  would 
allow  me  to  give.  I  think- that,  in  the  present  state  of  things, 
such  an  arrangement  would  be  beneficial,  and  even  pleasing  to 
those  most  concerned  in  it;  and  yet  I  doubt  extremely  the  pol 
icy  of  your  proposing  it  to  Congress.  The  objections  which 
occur  to  me  are:  1.  That  if  the  temper  and  views  of  Congress 
be  such  as  you  apprehend,  it  is  morally  certain  they  Avould  not 
enter  into  the  accommodation.  Nothing,  therefore,  would  be 
gained,  and  you  would  have  to  combat  under  the  disadvantage  of 
having  forsaken  your  first  ground.  2.  If  Congress  should  adopt 
your  expedient  as  a  ground  of  negociation  with  Guardoqui,  and 
the  views  of  Spain  be  such  as  they  must  be  apprehended  to  be, 
it  is  still  more  certain  that  it  would  be  rejected  on  that  side, 
especially  under  the  flattering  hopes  which  the  spirit  of  conces 
sion  in  Congress  must  have  raised.  In  this  event,  the  patrons 
of  the  measure  now  before  Congress  would  return  to  it  with 
greater  eagerness  and  with  fresh  arguments,  drawn  from  the 
impossibility  of  making  better  terms,  and  from  the  relaxation 
into  which  their  opponents  will  have  been  betrayed.  It  is  even 
possible  that  a  foresight  of  this  event  might  induce  a  politic 
concurrence  in  the  experiment. 

Your  knowledge  of  all  circumstances  will  make  you  a  better 
judge  of  the  solidity  or  fallacy  of  these  reflections  than  I  can 
be.  I  do  not  extend  them  because  it  would  be  superfluous,  as 
well  as  because  it  might  lead  to  details  which  could  not  pru 
dently  be  committed  to  the  mail  without  the  guard  of  a  cypher. 
Not  foreseeing  that  any  confidential  communication  on  paper 
would  happen  between  us  during  my  absence  from  Virginia,  I 
did  not  bring  mine  with  me. 


ANNAPOLIS,  September  llth,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  two  letters  from  you  not  yet  acknowl 
edged,  one  of  the  1st,  the  other  of  the  3d  instant.  Nothing  could 
be  more  distressing  than  the  issue  of  the  business  stated  in  the 

250  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

latter.  If  the  affirmative  vote  of  seven  States  should  be  pur 
sued,  it  will  add  the  insult  of  trick  to  the  injury  of  the  thing 

Our  prospect  here  makes  no  amends  for  what  is  done  with 
you.  Delaware,  New  Jersey,  and  Virginia,  alone  arc  on  the 
ground;  two  Commissioners  attend  from  New  York,  and  one 
from  Pennsylvania.  Unless  the  sudden  attendance  of  a  much 
more  respectable  number  takes  place  it  is  proposed  to  break  up 
the  meeting,  with  a  recommendation  of  another  time  and  place, 
and  an  intimation  of  the  expediency  of  extending  the  plan  to 
other  defects  of  the  Confederation.  In  case  of  a  speedy  dis 
persion,  I  shall  find  it  requisite  to  ride  back  as  far  as  Philadel 
phia  before  I  proceed  to  Virginia,  from  which  place,  if  not  from 
this,  I  will  let  you  know  the  upshot  here. 

I  have  heard  that  Col.  Grayson  was  stopped  at  Trenton,  by 
indisposition,  on  his  way  to  the  Assembly  of  Pennsylvania.  I 
hope  he  is  well  again,  and  would  write  to  him,  but  know  not 
whither  to  address  a  letter  to  him. 

Adieu.     Yrs  affy. 


PHILADELPHIA,  Octr  5th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  received  yesterday  your  favor  of  the  2nd  in 
stant,  which  makes  the  third  for  which  my  acknowledgments 
are  due.  The  progression  which  a  certain  measure  seems  to  be 
making  is  an  alarming  proof  of  the  predominance  of  temporary 
and  partial  interests  over  those  just  and  extended  maxims  of 
policy  which  have  been  so  much  boasted  of  among  us,  and 
which  alone  can  effectuate  the  durable  prosperity  of  the  Union. 
Should  the  measure  triumph  under  the  patronage  of  nine  States, 
or  even  of  the  whole  thirteen,  I  shall  never  be  convinced  that 
it  is  expedient,  because  I  cannot  conceive  it  to  be  just. 

£There  is  no  maxim,  in  my  opinion,  which  is  more  liable  to  be 
misapplied,  and  which,  therefore,  more  needs  elucidation,  than 

17GS.  LETTERS.  251 

the  current  one,  that  the  interest  of  the  majority  is  the  political 
standard  of  right  and  wrong.  Taking  the  word  "interest"  as# 
synonymous  with  "ultimate  happiness/7  in  which  sense  it  is 
qualified  with  every  necessary  moral  ingredient,  the  proposition 
is  no  doubt  true.  But  taking  it  in  the  popular  sense,  as  refer 
ring  to  immediate  augmentation  of  property  and  wealth,  nothing 
can  be  more  false.  In  the  latter  sense,  it  would  be  the  interest 
of  the  majority  in  every  community  to  despoil  and  enslave  the 
minority  of  individuals;  and  in  a  federal  community,  to  ni^e  a 
similar  sacrifice  of  the  minority  of  the  component  StatesJ.  In 
fact,  it  is  only  re-establishing,  under  another  name  and  a  more 
specious  form,  force  as  the  measure  of  right;  and  in  this  light 
the  Western  settlements  will  infallibly  view  it. 


RICHMOND,  Octr  30th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  drop  you  a  few  lines  rather  as  a  fulfilment  of 
my  promise  than  for  the  purpose  of  information,  since  they  go 
by  Mr.  Jones,  who  is  much  better  acquainted  with  the  politics 
here  than  myself. 

I  find,  with  pleasure,  that  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi 
will  be  defended  by  the  Legislature  with  as  much  zeal  as  could 
be  wished.  Indeed,  the  only  danger  is,  that  too  much  resent 
ment  may  be  indulged  by  many  against  the  federal  Councils. 
Paper  money  has  not  yet  been  tried  even  in  any  indirect  mode 
that  could  bring  forth  the  mind  of  the  Legislature.  Appear 
ances  on  the  subject,  however,  are  rather  flattering.  Mr.  Henry* 
has  declined  a  reappointment  to  the  office  he  holds,  and  Mr. 
Randolph  is  in  nomination  for  his  successor,  and  will  pretty 
certainly  be  elected.  R.  H.  Lee  has  been  talked  of,  but  is  not 
yet  proposed.  The  appointments  to  Congress  are  a  subject  of 
conversation,  and  will  be  made  as  soon  as  a  Senate  is  made. 

*  Then  Governor  of  Virginia. 

252  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

Mr.  Jones  will  be  included  in  the  new  Delegation.  Your  pres 
ence  and  communications  on  the  point  of  the  Mississippi  are 
exceedingly  wished  for,  and  would,  in  several  respects,  be  ex 
tremely  useful.  If  Mr.  Jones  does  not  return  in  a  day  or  two, 
come  without  him,  I  beseech  you.  I  am  consulted  frequently 
on  matters  concerning  which  I  cannot  or  ought  not  to  speak, 
and  refer  to  you  as  the  proper  source  of  information,  as  far  as 
you  may  be  at  liberty.  Hasten  your  trip,  I  again  beseech  you. 
I  hope  Mrs.  Monroe  continues  well.  My  sincerest  respects 
wait  on  her. 

In  haste,  adieu.     Yrs. 


RICHMOND,  Novr  1,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  been  here  too  short  a  time,  as  yet,  to  have 
collected  fully  the  politics  of  the  session.  In  general,  appear 
ances  are  favorable.  On  the  question  for  a  paper  emission,  the 
measure  was  this  day  rejected  in  emphatical  terms  by  a  majority 
of  84  vs.  17.  The  affair  of  the  Mississippi*  is  but  imperfectly 
known.  I  find  that  its  influence  on  the  federal  spirit  will  not 
be  less  than  was  apprehended.  The  Western  members  will  not 
be  long  silent  on  the  subject.  I  inculcate  a  hope  that  the  views 
of  Congress  may  yet  be  changed,  and  that  it  would  be  rash  to 
suffer  the  alarm  to  interfere  with  the  policy  of  amending  the 
Confederacy.  The  sense  of  the  House  has  not  yet  been  tried 
on  the  latter  point. 

The  Report  from  the  Deputies  to  Annapolis  lies  on  the  table, 
and  I  hope  will  be  called  for  before  the  business  of  the  Missis 
sippi  begins  to  ferment.  Mr.  Henry  has  signified  his  wish  not 
to  be  re-elected,  [Governor,]  but  will  not  be  in  the  Assembly. 
The  Attorney  [Ed.  Randolph]  and  R.  H.  Lee  are  in  nomina 
tion  for  his  successor.  The  former  will  probably  be  appointed; 

*  Mr.  Jay's  project  for  shutting  it  up  for  25  years. 

1786.  LETTERS.  253 

in  which  case,  the  contest  for  that  vacancy  will  lie  between  Col. 
Inncs  and  Mr.  Marshall-     The  nominations  for  Congress  are. 
as  usual,  numerous.     There  being  no  Senate  yet,  it  is  uncertain 
when  any  of  these  appointments  will  take  place. 
With  sincerest  affection,  your's. 


RICHMOND,  Novr  1st,  1786. 

Paper  money  was  the  subject  of  discussion  this  day,  and  was 
voted,  by  a  majority  of  84  against  17,  to  be  "unjust,  impolitic, 
destructive  of  public  and  private  confidence,  and  of  that  virtue 
which  is  the  basis  of  Republican  Government."  Our  Revenue 
matters  have  also  been  on  the  anvil;  several  changes  in  our 
taxes  are  proposed,  and  it  is  not  unlikely  that  some  will  take 
place.  Duties  on  imports  will  be  urged,  as  far  as  they  can  be 
guarded  against  smuggling  by  land,  as  well  as  by  water.  Gov 
ernor  Henry  declines  a  reappointment,  but  does  not  come  into 
the  Assembly.  The  Attorney  or  R.  H.  Lee,  probably  the  for 
mer,  will  supply  his  place. 

We  learn  that  great  commotions  are  prevailing  in  Massa 
chusetts.  An  appeal  to  the  Sword  is  exceedingly  dreaded. 
The  discontented,  it  is  said,  are  as  numerous  as  the  friends  of 
Government,  and  more  decided  in  their  measures.  Should  they 
get  uppermost,  it  is  uncertain  what  may  be  the  effect.  They 
profess  to  aim  only  at  a  reform  of  their  Constitution,  and  of 
certain  abuses  in  the  public  administration;  but  an  abolition  of 
debts,  public  and  private,  and  a  new  division  of  property,  are 
strongly  suspected  to  be  in  contemplation. 

We  also  learn  that  a  general  combination  of  the  Indians 
threatens  the  frontier  of  the  United  States.  Congress  are 
planning  measures  for  warding  off  the  blow,  one  of  which  is 
an  augmentation  of  the  federal  troops  to  upwards  of  2,000  men. 
In  addition  to  these  ills,  it  is  pretty  certain  that  a  formidable 

254  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1780 

party  in  Congress  are  bent  on  surrendering  the  Mississippi  to 
Spain,  for  the  sake  of  some  commercial  stipulations.  The  pro 
ject  has  already  excited  much  heat  within  that  Assembly,  and, 
if  pursued,  will  not  fail  to  alienate  the  Western  Country  and 
confirm  the  animosity  and  jealousy  already  subsisting  between 
the  Atlantic  States.  I  fear  that,  although  it  should  be  frus 
trated,  the  effects  already  produced  will  be  a  great  bar  to  our 
amendment  of  the  Confederacy,  which  I  consider  as  essential  to 
its  continuance.  I  have  letters  from  Kentucky  which  inform 
me  that  the  expedition  against  the  Indians  has  prevented  the 
meeting  which  was  to  decide  the  question  of  their  Independ 
ence.  It  is  probable  the  news  relative  to  the  surrender  of  the 
Mississippi  will  lessen  the  disposition  to  separate. 

If  the  bacon  left  behind  by  John  should  not  have  been  sent, 
it  need  not  be  sent  at  all.  Fresh  butter  will,  from  time  to  time, 
continue  to  be  very  acceptable.  My  best  regards  to  my  mother 
and  the  family. 

Your  affectionate  and  dutiful  son. 


RICHMOND,  Novr  8th,  1780. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  am  just  honored  with  your  favor  of  the  5th 
instant.  The  intelligence  from  General  Knox*  is  gloomy  in 
deed,  but  it  is  less  so  than  the  colours  in  which  I  had  it  through 
another  channel.  If  the  lessons  which  it  inculcates  should  not 
work  the  proper  impressions  on  the  American  public,  it  will  be 
a  proof  that  our  case  is  desperate. 

Judging  from  the  present  temper  and  apparent  views  of  our 
Assembly,  I  have  some  ground  for  leaning  to  the  side  of  hope. 
The  vote  against  paper  money  has  been  followed  by  two  others 
of  great  importance.  By  one  of  them,  petitions  for  applying  a 
scale  of  depreciation  to  the  military  certificates  was  unanimously 

*  Respecting  Shave's  Rebellion  in  Massachusetts. 


LETTERS.  255 

rejected.  By  the  other,  the  expediency  of  complying  with  the 
Recommendation  from  Annapolis  in  favour  of  a  general  revision 
of  the  federal  system  was  unanimously  agreed  to.  A  Bill  for 
the  purpose  is  now  depending,  and  in  a  form  which  attests  the 
most  federal  spirit.  As  no  opposition  has  been  yet  made,  and 
it  is  ready  for  the  third  reading,  I  expect  it  will  soon  be  before 
the  public.  It  has  been  thought  advisable  to  give  this  subject 
a  very  solemn  dress,  and  all  the  weight  that  could  be  derived 
from  a  single  State.  This  idea  will  be  pursued  in  the  selection 
of  characters  to  represent  Virginia  in  the  federal  Convention. 
You  will  infer  our  earnestness  on  this  point  from  the  liberty 
which  will  be  used  of  placing  your  name  at  the  head  of  them. 
How  far  this  liberty  may  correspond  with  the  ideas  by  which 
you  ought  to  be  governed  will  be  best  decided  when  it  must 
ultimately  be  decided.  In  every  event,  it  will  assist  powerfully 
in  marking  the  zeal  of  our  Legislature,  and  its  opinion  of  the 
magnitude  of  the  occasion. 

Mr.  Randolph  has  been  elected  successor  to  Mr.  Henry.  He 
had  77  votes,  Col.  Bland  26,  and  R.  H.  Lee  22.  The  delega 
tion  to  Congress  drops  Col.  H.  Lee,  a  circumstance  which  gives 
much  pain  to  those  who  attend  to  the  mortification  in  which  it 
involves  a  man  of  sensibility.  I  am  yet  to  learn  the  ground  of 
the  extensive  disapprobation  which  has  shewn  itself. 

I  am,  dear  sir,  most  respectfully  and  affectionately  your's. 

[Notes  of  a  speech  made  by  Mr.  Madison  in  the  House  of  Delegates  of  Vir 
ginia,  in  November,  1786,  in  opposition  to  paper-money.] 

1.  Being  redeemable  at  future  day.  and 

Unequal  to  specie.  J    .         .          .    .  _      T11  L    i    i 

not  bearing  interest.  2.  Illustrated  by 
case  of  bank  notes,  stock  in  funds,  paper  of  Spain  issued  during 
late  war,  (See  Neckar  on  finance,)  navy  bills,  tallies.  3.  Being 
of  less  use  than  specie,  which  answers  externally  as  well  as 
internally,  must  be  of  less  value,  which  depends  on  the  use. 

1.  To  creditors  of  a  legal  tender.     2. 

To  debtors,  if  not  legal  tender,  by  increas- 

256  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

ing  difficulty  of  getting  specie.  This  it  does  by  increasing  ex 
travagance  and  unfavorable  balance  of  trade,  and  by  destroy 
ing  that  confidence  between  man  and  man  by  which  resources 
of  one  may  be  commanded  by  another.  3.  Illustrated — 1.  By 
raising  denomination  of  coin.  2.  Increasing  alloy  of  d°; 
brass  made  as  silver  by  the  Romans,  according  to  Sallust.  3. 
By  changing  weights  and  measures.  4.  By  case  of  creditors 
within  who  are  debtors  without  the  State. 

1.   Affects  rights  of  property  as  much 

Unconstitutional.  -,        i        •     -,       -,      --M 

as  taking  away  equal  value  in  land ;  illus 
trated  by  case  of  land  paid  for  down,  and  to  be  conveyed  in 
future,  and  of  a  law  for  remitting  conveyance,  to  be  satisfied 
by  conveying  a  part  only,  or  other  land  of  inferior  quality.  2. 
Affects  property  without  trial  by  jury. 

Right  of  regulating  coin  given  to  Con- 

Anti-federal.  &  i     -n  /• 

gress  lor  two  reasons:  1.  For  sake  ol  uni 
formity.     2.  To  prevent  frauds  in  States  towards  each  other  or 
foreigners.    Both  these  reasons  hold  equally  as  to  paper  money. 
1.    Produce  of  country   will   bring    in 

Unnecessary.  .      .  p        .    •>    •  •>        .  .     '  n    • ,  • 

specie,  it  not  laid  out  in  superfluities.  2. 
Of  paper,  if  necessary,  enough  already  in  Tobacco  notes  and 
public  securities.  3.  The  true  mode  of  giving  value  to  these, 
and  bringing  in  specie,  is  to  enforce  justice  and  taxes. 

1.  By  fostering  luxury,  extends  instead 

Pernicious.  /  *  •  ™      j- 

of  curing  scarcity  of  specie.  2.  By  dis 
abling  compliance  with  requisition  of  Congress.  3.  Sowing 
dissentions  between  States.  4.  Destroying  confidence  between 
individuals.  5.  Discouraging  commerce.  6.  Enriching  collec 
tors  and  sharpers.  7.  Vitiating  morals.  8.  Reversing  end  of 
government,  which  is  to  reward  best  and  punish  worst.  9. 
Conspiring  with  the  examples  of  other  States  to  disgrace 
republican  governments  in  the  eyes  of  mankind. 

Objection.  Paper  money  good  before  the  war. 

1.  Not  true  in  New  England,  nor   in 

Answer.  .    . 

Virginia,  where  exchange  rose  to  60  per 
cent.,  nor  in  Maryland.  See  Franklin  on  paper  money.  2. 

1786.  LETTERS.  257 

Confidence  then ;  not  now.     3.  Principles  of  paper  credit  not 
then  understood;  such  would  not  then,  nor  now,  succeed  in 
Great  Britain,  &c. 
Advantages  from  rejecting  paper : 

1.  Distinguish  the  State  and  its  credit. 

2.  Draw  commerce  and  specie. 

3.  Set  honorable  example  to  other  States. 


RICHMOND,  Nov.  16th,  1786. 
HOND  SIR,—  ******* 

The  House  of  Delegates  have  done  little  since  my  last,  and 
what  was  then  done  is  still  ineffectual  for  want  of  a  Senate. 
A  proposition  for  stopping  the  receipt  of  indents  was  made, 
and  met  with  so  little  countenance  that  it  was  withdrawn. 
They  will  continue  to  be  receivable  as  far  as  the  law  now  per 
mits,  and  those  who  have  them  not  would  do  well  to  provide 
them.  A  bill  is  depending  which  makes  Tobacco  receivable  in 
lieu  of  the  specie  part  of  the  current  tax,  according  to  its  value 
at  the  different  Warehouses.  Whether  it  will  pass  or  not  is 
uncertain.  I  think  it  most  probable  that  it  will  pass.  Nothing 

has  yet  been  done  as  to  the  certificate  tax. 



November  24th.  1786. 

HOND  Sm, — The  House  of  Delegates  have  just  passed  a  bill 
making  Tobacco  receivable  in  the  tax  at  the  market  price  at 
the  several  Warehouses  to  be  fixt  by  the  Executive.  There  is 
a  proviso  that  the  highest  price  shall  not  exceed  28s.  An 
equality  of  price  throughout  was  contended  for,  which  I  dis 
approved:  1.  Because  I  think  it  would  have  been  unjust.  2. 
Because  the  bill  could  not  have  been  carried  in  that  form.  I 
was  not  anxious  for  its  success  in  any  form,  but  acquiesced  in 

VOL.  i.  17 

258  »   WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178G. 

it  as  it  stands,  as  the  people  may  consider  it  in  the  light  of  an 
easement,  and  as  it  may  prevent  some  worse  project  in  the 

#  #  *  # 

[The  following  Petition  for  the  repeal  of  the  Law  incorporating  the  Protestant 
Episcopal  Church  in  Virginia,  passed  in  1784,  is  found  among  the  papers  of  Mr. 
Madison,  and  in  his  handwriting.*] 

To  the  Honorable  tJie  Speaker  and  gentlemen  the  General  Assem 
bly  of  Virginia : 

We,  the  subscribers,  members  of  the  Protestant  Episcopal 
Church,  claim  the  attention  of  your  honorable  body  to  our 
objections  to  the  law  passed  at  the  last  session  of  Assembly 
for  incorporating  the  Protestant  Episcopal  Church;  and  we 
remonstrate  against  the  said  law — 

Because  the  law  admits  the  power  of  the  Legislative  Body 
to  interfere  in  matters  of  Religion,  which  we  think  is  not 
included  in  their  jurisdiction: 

Because  the  law  was  passed  on  the  petition  of  some  of  the 
clergy  of  the  Protestant  Episcopal  Church,  without  any  appli 
cation  from  the  other  members  of  that  church  on  whom  the  law 
is  to  operate ;  and  we  conceive  it  to  be  highly  improper  that 
the  Legislature  should  regard  as  the  sense  of  the  whole  church 
the  opinion  of  a  few  interested  members,  who  were  in  most 
instances  originally  imposed  on  the  people  without  their  con 
sent,  and  who  were  not  authorized  by  even  the  smallest  part  of 
this  community  to  make  such  a  proposition: 

Because  the  law  constitutes  the  clergy  members  of  a  conven 
tion  who  are  to  legislate  for  the  laity,  contrary  to  their  funda 
mental  right  in  chusing  their  own  Legislators: 

Because  by  that  law  the  most  obnoxious  and  unworthy  Cler 
gyman  cannot  be  removed  from  a  parish  except  by  the  deter 
mination  of  a  body,  one  half  of  whom  the  people  have  no  con- 

*  The  Law  referred  to  was  repealed  in  1786. 

1786.  LETTERS.  259 

fidence  in,  and  who  will  always  have  the  same  interest  with  tht 
Minister  whose  conduct  they  are  to  judge  of: 

Because  by  that  law  power  is  given  to  the  Convention  to 
regulate  matters  of  faith,  and  the  obsequious  vestries  are  to 
engage  to  change  their  opinions  as  often  as  the  Convention 
shall  alter  theirs: 

Because  a  system  so  absurd  and  servile  will  drive  the  mem 
bers  of  the  Episcopal  church  over  to  other  sects,  where  there 
will  be  more  consistency  and  liberty: 

We  therefore  hope  that  the  wisdom  and  impartiality  of  the 
present  Assembly  will  incline  them  to  repeal  a  law  so  pregnant 
with  mischief  and  injustice. 


RICHMOND,  December  4th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  recommendation  from  the  meeting  at  An 
napolis,  of  a  plenipotentiary  Convention  in  Philadelphia  in  May 
next,  has  been  well  received  by  the  Assembly  here.  Indeed, 
the  evidence  of  dangerous  defects  in  the  confederation  has  at 
length  proselyted  the  most  obstinate  adversaries  to  a  reform. 
The  unanimous  sanction  given  by  the  Assembly  to  the  inclosed 
compliance  with  the  Recommendation  marks  sufficiently  the 
revolution  of  sentiment  which  the  experience  of  one  year  has 
effected  in  this  country.  The  deputies  are  not  yet  appointed. 
It  is  expected  that  General  Washington,  the  present  Governor, 
E.  Randolph,  and  the  late  one,  Mr.  Henry,  will  be  of  the 

The  project  for  bartering  the  Mississippi  to  Spain  was  brought 
before  the  Assembly  after  the  preceding  measure  had  been 
adopted.  The  report  of  it  having  reached  the  ears  of  the  West 
ern  Representatives,  as  many  of  them  as  were  on  the  spot, 
backed  by  a  number  of  the  late  officers,  presented  a  memorial, 
full  of  consternation  and  complaint;  in  consequence  of  which, 
some  very  pointed  Resolutions,  by  way  of  instruction  to  the 
Delegates  in  Congress,  were  unanimously  entered  into  by  the 

260  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

House  of  Delegates.  They  are  now  before  the  Senate,  who  will 
no  doubt  be  also  unanimous  in  their  concurrence. 

The  question  of  paper  money  was  among  the  first  with  which 
the  session  opened.  It  was  introduced  by  petitions  from  two 
Counties.  The  discussion  was  faintly  supported  by  a  few  ob 
scure  patrons  of  the  measure,  and,  on  the  vote,  it  was  thrown 
out  by  85  against  17.  A  petition  for  paying  off  the  public  se 
curities  according  to  a  scale  of  their  current  prices  was  unani 
mously  rejected. 

The  consideration  of  the  Revised  Code  has  been  resumed,  and 
prosecuted  pretty  far  towards  its  conclusion.  I  find,  however, 
that  it  will  be  impossible,  as  well  as  unsafe,  to  give  an  ultimate 
fiat  to  the  system  at  this  session.  The  expedient  I  have  in  view 
is  to  provide  for  a  supplemental  revision  by  a  Committee,  who 
shall  accommodate  the  bills  skipped  over,  and  the  subsequent 
laws,  to  such  part  of  the  Code  as  has  been  adopted,  suspending 
the  operation  of  the  latter  for  one  year  longer.  Such  a  work 
is  rendered  indispensable  by  the  alterations  made  in  some  of 
the  bills  in  their  passage,  by  the  change  of  circumstances,  which 
call  for  corresponding  changes  in  sundry  bills  which  have  been 
laid  by,  and  by  the  incoherence  between  the  whole  Code  and 
the  laws  in  force  of  posterior  date  to  the  Code.  This  business 
has  consumed  a  great  deal  of  the  time  of  two  sessions,  and  has 
given  infinite  trouble  to  some  of  us.  We  have  never  been  with 
out  opponents,  who  contest,  at  least,  every  innovation  inch  by 
inch.  The  bill  proportioning  crimes  and  punishments,  on  which 
we  were  wrecked  last  year,  has,  after  undergoing  a  number  of 
alterations,  got  through  a  Committee  of  the  whole;  but  it  has 
not  yet  been  reported  to  the  House,  where  it  will  meet  with 
the  most  vigorous  attack.  I  think  the  chance  is  rather  against 
its  final  passage  in  that  branch  of  the  Assembly;  and  if  it  should 
not  miscarry  there,  it  will  have  another  gauntlet  to  run  through 
the  Senate. 

The  bill  on  the  subject  of  Education,  which  could  not  safely 
be  brought  into  discussion  at  all  last  year,  has  undergone  a 
pretty  indulgent  consideration  this.  In  order  to  obviate  the 
objection  from  the  inability  of  the  Country  to  bear  the  expence, 

1786.  LETTERS.  261 

it  was  proposed  that  it  should  be  passed  into  a  law,  but  its  op 
eration  suspended  for  three  or  four  years.  Even  in  this  form, 
however,  there  would  be  hazard  in  pushing  it  to  a  final  ques 
tion,  and  I  begin  to  think  it  will  be  best  to  let  it  lie  over  for 
the  supplemental  Revisors,  who  may,  perhaps,  be  able  to  put  it 
into  some  shape  that  will  lessen  the  objection  of  expence.  I 
should  have  no  hesitation  at  this  policy  if  I  saw  a  chance  of 
getting  a  Committee  equal  to  the  work  of  compleating  the  re 
vision.  Mr.  Pendleton  is  too  far  gone  to  take  any  part  in  it. 
Mr.  Wythe,  I  suppose,  will  not  decline  any  duty  which  may  be 
imposed  on  him,  but  it  seems  almost  cruel  to  tax  his  patriotic 
zeal  any  farther.  Mr.  Blair  is  the  only  remaining  character  in 
which  full  confidence  could  be  placed. 

The  delay  in  the  administration  of  Justice  from  the  accumu 
lation  of  business  in  the  General  Court,  and  despair  of  obtain 
ing  a  reform  according  to  the  Assize  plan,  have  led  me  to  give 
up  this  plan  in  favor  of  district  Courts,  which  differ  from  the 
former  in  being  clothed  with  all  the  powers  of  the  General 
Court  within  their  respective  districts.  The  bill  on  the  latter 
plan  will  be  reported  in  a  few  days,  and  will  probably,  though 
not  certainly,  be  adopted. 

The  fruits  of  the  impolitic  measures  taken  at  the  last  session 
with  regard  to  taxes  are  bitterly  tasted  now.  Our  Treasury  is 
empty,  no  supplies  have  gone  to  the  federal  treasury,  and  our 
internal  embarrassments  torment  us  exceedingly.  The  present 
Assembly  have  good  dispositions  on  the  subject,  but  some  time 
will  elapse  before  any  of  their  arrangements  can  be  productive. 
In  one  instance  only,  the  general  principles  of  finance  have  been 
departed  from.  The  specie  part  of  the  tax  under  collection  is 
made  payable  in  Tobacco.  This  indulgence  to  the  people,  as  it 
is  called  and  considered,  was  so  warmly  wished  for  out  of  doors, 
and  so  strenuously  pressed  within,  that  it  could  not  be  rejected 
without  danger  of  exciting  some  worse  project  of  a  popular 
cast.  As  Tobacco  alone  is  made  commutable,  there  is  reason 
to  hope  the  public  treasury  will  suffer  little,  if  at  all.  It  may 
possibly  gain. 

The  repeal  of  the  port  bill  has  not  yet  been  attempted.    Col. 

•262  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786 

Mason  has  been  waited  for  as  the  hero  of  the  attack.  As  it  is 
become  uncertain  whether  he  will  be  down  at  all,  the  question 
will  probably  be  brought  forward  in  a  few  days.  The  repeal, 
were  he  present,  would  be  morally  certain.  Under  the  disad 
vantage  of  his  absence,  it  is  more  than  probable.  The  question 
of  British  debts  has  also  awaited  his  patronage.  I  am  unable 
to  say  what  the  present  temper  is  on  that  subject,  nothing  hav 
ing  passed  that  could  make  trial  of  it.  The  repeated  disap 
pointments  I  have  sustained  in  efforts  in  favor  of  the  Treaty 
make  me  extremely  averse  to  take  the  lead  in  the  business 

The  public  appointments  have  been  disposed  of  as  follows: 
The  contest  for  the  chair  lay  between  Col.  Bland  and  Mr.  Pren- 
tis.  The  latter  prevailed  by  a  majority  of  near  20  votes.  Mr. 
Harrison,  the  late  Speaker,  lost  his  election  in  Surrey,  which  he 
represented  last  year;  and  since  has  been  equally  unsuccessful 
in  his  pristine  County,  Charles  City,  where  he  made  a  second 
experiment.  In  the  choice  of  a  Governor,  Mr.  E.  Randolph 
had  a  considerable  majority  of  the  whole  in  the  first  ballot. 
His  competitors  were  Col.  Bland  and  R.  H.  Lee,  each  of  whom 
had  between  20  and  30  votes.  The  delegation  to  Congress  con 
tained,  under  the  first  choice,  Grayson,  Carrington,  R.  II.  Lee, 
Mr.  Jones,  and  myself.  Col.  H.  Lee,  of  the  last  delegation,  was 
dropped.  The  causes  were  different,  I  believe,  and  not  very 
accurately  known  to  me.  One  of  them  is  said  to  have  been  his 
supposed  heterodoxy  touching  the  Mississippi.  Mr.  Jones  has 
since  declined  his  appointment,  and  Col.  Lee  has  been  reinstated 
by  an  almost  unanimous  vote.  A  vacancy  in  the  Council,  pro 
duced  by  the  resignation  of  Mr.  Roane,  is  filled  by  Mr.  Boiling 
Starke.  Cyrus  Griffin  was  a  candidate,  but  was  left  consider 
ably  in  the  rear.  The  Attorney  Generalship  has  been  conferred 
on  Col.  Innes.  Mr.  Marshall  had  a  handsome  vote. 

Our  summer  and  fall  have  been  wet  beyond  all  imagination 
in  some  places,  and  much  so  everywhere.  The  crops  of  corn 
are  in  general  plentiful.  The  price  up  the  country  will  not 
exceed  8  or  10s.  In  this  district  it  is  scarcest  and  dearest, 
being  already  as  high  as  12  or  15s.  The  crop  of  Tobacco  will 

1786.  LETTERS.  263 

fall  short  considerably,  it  is  calculated,  of  the  last  year's.  The 
highest  and  lowest  prices  in  the  Country,  of  the  new  crop,  are 
25  and  20s.  A  rise  is  confidently  expected. 

My  next  will  be  from  New  York,  whither  I  shall  set  out  as 
soon  as  the  principal  business  of  the  Session  is  over.  Till  my 
arrival  there  I  postpone  communications  relative  to  our  national 
affairs,  which  I  shall  then  be  able  to  make  on  better  grounds, 
as  well  as  some  circumstances  relative  to  the  affairs  of  this 
State,  which  the  hurry  of  the  present  opportunity  restrains  me 
from  entering  into. 



RICHMOND,  December  7th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — Notwithstanding  the  communications  in  your  fa 
vor  of  the  18th  ult°,  which  has  remained  until  now  unacknowl 
edged,  it  was  the  opinion  of  every  judicious  friend  whom  I  con 
sulted  that  your  name  could  not  be  spared  from  the  Deputation 
to  the  meeting  in  May,  at  Philadelphia.  It  was  supposed,  in 
the  first  place,  that  the  peculiarity  of  the  Mission,  and  its  ac 
knowledged  pre-eminence  over  every  other  public  object,  may 
possibly  reconcile  your  undertaking  it  with  the  respect  which 
is  justly  due,  and  which  you  wish  to  pay,  to  the  late  officers  of 
the  Army;  and,  in  the  second  place,  that  although  you  should 
find  that  or  any  other  consideration  an  obstacle  to  your  attend 
ance  on  the  service,  the  advantage  of  having  your  name  in  the 
front  of  the  appointment,  as  a  mark  of  the  earnestness  of  Vir 
ginia,  and  an  invitation  to  the  most  select  characters  from  every 
part  of  the  Confederacy,  ought  at  all  events  to  be  made  use  of. 
In  these  sentiments  I  own  I  fully  concurred,  and  flatter  myself 
that  they  will  at  least  apologize  for  my  departure  from  those 
?ield  out  in  your  letter.  I  even  flatter  myself  that  they  will 
merit  a  serious  consideration  with  yourself  whether  the  difficul 
ties  which  you  enumerate  ought  not  to  give  way  to  them. 

264  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  178G. 

The  affair  of  the  Mississippi,  which  was  brought  before  the 
Assembly  in  a  long  memorial  from  the  Western  members  and 
some  of  the  officers,  has  undergone  a  full  consideration  of  both 
Houses.  The  resolutions  printed  in  the  papers  were  agreed  to 
unanimously  in  the  House  of  Delegates.  In  the  Senate,  I  am 
told,  the  language  was  objected  to  by  some  members  as  too 
pointed.  They  certainly  express  in  substance  the  decided  sense 
of  the  Country  at  this  time  on  the  subject,  and  were  offered  in 
the  place  of  some  which  went  much  farther,  and  which  were  in 
other  respects  exceptionable.  I  am  entirely  convinced,  from 
what  I  observe  here,  that  unless  the  project  of  Congress  [for 
ceding  to  Spain  the  Mississippi  for  25  years]  can  be  reversed, 
the  hopes  of  carrying  this  State  into  a  proper  federal  system 
will  be  demolished.  Many  of  our  most  federal  leading  men  are 
extremely  soured  with  what  has  already  passed.  Mr.  Henry, 
who  has  been  hitherto  the  champion  of  the  federal  cause,  has 
become  a  cold  advocate,  and  in  the  event  of  an  actual  sacrifice 
of  the  Mississippi  by  Congress,  will  unquestionably  go  over  to 
the  opposite  side.  I  have  a  letter  from  Col.  Grayson  of  late 
date,  which  tells  me  that  nothing  further  has  been  done  in  Con 
gress,  and  one  from  Mr.  A.  Clarke,  of  New  Jersey,  which  in 
forms  me  that  he  expected  every  day  instructions  from  his 
Legislature  for  reversing  the  vote  given  by  the  Delegates  of 
that  State  in  favor  of  the  project. 

The  temper  of  the  Assembly  at  the  beginning  of  the  session 
augured  an  escape  from  every  measure  this  year  not  consonant 
to  the  proper  principles  of  Legislation.  I  fear,  now,  that  the 
conclusion  will  contradict  the  promising  outset.  In  admitting 
Tobacco  for  a  commutable,  we  perhaps  swerved  a  little  from 
the  line  in  which  we  set  out.  I  acquiesced  in  the  measure  my 
self  as  a  prudential  compliance  with  the  clamours  within  doors 
and  without,  and  as  a  probable  means  of  obviating  more  hurt 
ful  experiments.  I  find,  however,  now,  that  it  either  had  no 
such  tendency,  or  that  schemes  were  in  embryo  which  I  was  not 
aware  of.  A  Bill  for  establishing  District  Courts  has  been 
clogged  with  a  plan  for  installing  all  debts  now  due,  so  as  to 
make  them  payable  in  three  annual  portions.  What  the  fate 

178G.  LETTERS.  265 

of  the  experiment  will  be  I  know  not.  It  seems  pretty  certain 
that  if  it  fails,  the  bill  will  fail  with  it.  It  is  urged  in  support 
of  the  measure  that  it  will  be  favorable  to  debtors  and  credi 
tors  both,  and  that,  without  it,  the  bill  for  accelerating  justice 
would  ruin  the  former  and  endanger  the  public  repose.  The 
objections  are  so  numerous,  and  of  such  a  nature,  that  I  shall 
myself  give  up  the  bill  rather  than  pay  such  a  price  for  it. 


RICHMOND,  Decr  12th,  1786. 

HOND  SIR, — The  inclosed  paper  will  give  you  a  knowledge 
of  the  mode  and  terms  on  which  Tobacco  is  made  a  Commu ta 
ble.  It  also  contains  some  Resolutions  of  importance  relative 
to  the  navigation  of  the  Mississippi.  The  Senate  have  con 
curred  in  them,  though  not  unanimously.  Some  of  the  members 
of  that  branch  objected  to  the  pointedness  of  the  language; 
others  doubted  the  propriety  of  taking  up  a  subject  of  so  deli 
cate  a  nature  without  official  information  from  the  delegation 
in  Congress. 

The  repeal  of  the  port  bill  was  yesterday  a  subject  of  discus 
sion,  and  rejected  by  70  against  36,  so  that  the  law  is  likely  to 
become  permanent.  Amendments,  however,  are  necessary,  and 
will  probably  take  place.  We  have  a  bill  depending  for  estab 
lishing  District  Courts,  differing  from  the  Assize  in  this  respect, 
that  the  former  will  be  vested  with  as  compleat  jurisdiction 
within  the  District  as  the  General  Court  exercises  over  the 
whole  State.  Unhappily,  it  is  clogged  with  a  clause  installing 
all  debts  among  ourselves,  so  as  to  make  them  payable  in  three 
annual  portions.  Such  an  interposition  of  the  law  in  private 
contracts  is  not  to  be  vindicated  on  any  Legislative  principle 
within  my  knowledge,  and  seems  obnoxious  to  the  strongest  ob 
jections  which  prevailed  against  paper  money.  How  it  will  be 
relished  I  cannot  say,  the  matter  not  having  yet  been  taken 
into  discussion.  I  think  it  probable  that  it  will  miscarry,  and 
that  it  will  involve  the  District  bill  in  its  fate. 

266  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1786. 

No  thorough  revision  of  the  taxes  has  yet  taken  place.  The 
inclosed  report  of  a  Committee  will  present  some  ideas  which 
are  to  be  discussed.  In  general,  the  bias  of  the  House  seems 
to  be  strongly  towards  taxes  which  are  to  operate  indirectly, 
and  on  articles  of  luxury.  The  lawyers  and  County  Court 
clerks  are  also  likely  to  be  squeezed.  One-tenth  of  the  fees 
of  the  former,  and  one-third  of  those  of  the  latter,  were  voted 
to-day  to  be  a  proper  share  for  the  public.  Riding  Carriages 
were  also  voted  to  be  proper  objects  of  additional  taxation. 
Coaches,  &c.,  are  to  pay  six  dollars  per  wheel,  Phaetons  4  dol 
lars,  and  Chairs,  <fcc.,  2  dollars  per  wheel.  Whether  these  ex 
travagant  ideas  will  be  persisted  in  is  uncertain.  I  can  scarcely 

suppose  they  will,  in  their  full  extent. 


The  Convention  in  Kentucky  was  prevented  by  the  Expedi 
tions  into  the  Indian  Country.  It  is  proposed  that  another 
Convention  shall  be  authorized  to  decide  the  question  of  their 


RICHMOND,  December  21st,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR—  *  *  *  *  *  *  * 
We  hear  nothing  from  any  of  the  other  States  on  the  subject 
of  the  federal  Convention.  The  ice  seems  to  have  intercepted 
totally  the  Northern  communication  for  a  considerable  time 
past.  The  Assembly  have  been  much  occupied  of  late  with  the 
bill  for  district  Courts.  On  the  final  question  there  was  a  ma 
jority  of  one  against  it,  in  fact,  though  on  the  count  a  mistake 
made  the  division  equal,  and  it  fell  to  the  Chair  to  decide,  who 
passed  the  bill.  The  real  majority,  however,  were  sensible  of 
the  mistake;  and  refused  to  agree  to  the  title,  threatening  a  se 
cession  at  the  same  time.  The  result  was  a  compromise,  that 
the  question  should  be  decided  anew  the  next  morning,  when 
the  bill  was  lost  in  a  full  house  by  a  single  voice.  It  is  now 
proposed  to  extend  the  Session  of  the  General  Court  so  as  to 

1786.  LETTERS.  267 

accelerate  the  business  depending  there.  We  hear  that  Mary 
land  is  much  agitated  on  the  score  of  paper  money,  the  House 
of  Delegates  having  decided  in  favour  of  an  emission. 


RICHMOND,  December  24th,  1786. 

DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  16th  instant  came  to  hand  too 
late  on  thursday  evening  to  be  answered  by  the  last  mail.  I 
have  considered  well  the  circumstances  which  it  confidentially 
discloses,  as  well  as  those  contained  in  your  preceding  favor. 
The  difficulties  which  they  oppose  to  an  acceptance  of  the  ap 
pointment,  in  which  you  are  included,  can  as  little  be  denied  as 
they  can  fail  to  be  regretted.  But  I  still  am  inclined  to  think 
that  the  posture  of  our  affairs,  if  it  should  continue,  would  pre 
vent  every  criticism  on  the  situation  which  the  cotemporary 
meetings  would  place  you  in;  and  that  at  least  a  door  could  be 
kept  open  for  your  acceptance  hereafter,  in  case  the  gathering 
clouds  become  so  dark  and  menacing  as  to  supersede  every  con 
sideration  but  that  of  our  national  existence  and  safety.  A 
suspension  of  your  ultimate  determination  would  be  nowise  in 
convenient  in  a  public  view,  as  the  Executive  are  authorised  to 
fill  vacancies,  and  can  fill  them  at  any  time;  and,  in  any  event, 
three  out  of  seven  deputies  are  authorized  to  represent  the 
State.  How  far  it  may  be  admissible  in  another  view  will  de 
pend,  perhaps,  in  some  measure,  on  the  chance  of  your  finally 
undertaking  the  service,  but  principally  on  the  correspondence 
which  is  now  passing  on  the  subject  between  yourself  and  the 

Your  observations  on  Tobacco  as  a  commutable  in  the  taxes 
are  certainly  just  and  unanswerable.  My  acquiescence  in  the 
measure  was  against  every  general  principle  which  I  have  em 
braced,  and  was  extorted  by  a  fear  that  some  greater  evil  under 
the  name  of  relief  to  the  people  would  be  substituted.  I  am  far 
from  being  sure,  however,  that  I  did  right.  The  other  evils 
contended  for  have,  indeed,  been  as  yet  parried,  but  it  is  very 

268  WORKS    OF    MADISON. 

questionable  whether  the  concession  in  the  affair  of  the  Tobacco 
had  much  hand  in  it.  The  original  object  was  paper  money. 
Petitions  for  graduating  certificates  succeeded.  Next  came  in 
stalments.  And,  lastly,  a  project  for  making  property  a  tender 
for  debts  at  four-fifths  of  its  value.  All  these  have  been  happily 
got  rid  of  by  very  large  majorities.  •  But  the  positive  efforts  in 
favor  of  Justice  have  been  less  successful.  A  plan  for  reform 
ing  the  administration  in  this  branch,  accommodated  more  to 
the  general  opinion  than  the  Assize  plan,  got  as  far  as  the  third 
reading,  and  was  then  lost  by  a  single  vote.  The  Senate  would 
have  passed  it  readily,  and  would  have  even  added  amendments 
of  the  right  complexion.  I  fear  it  will  be  some  time  before 
this  necessary  reform  will  again  have  a  fair  chance.  Besides 
some  other  grounds  of  apprehension,  it  may  well  be  supposed 
that  the  Bill,  which  is  to  be  printed  for  consideration  of  the 
public,  will,  instead  of  calling  forth  the  sanction  of  the  wise 
and  virtuous,  be  a  signal  to  interested  men  to  redouble  their 
efforts  to  get  into  the  Legislature. 

The  Revenue  business  is  still  unfinished.  The  present  rage 
seems  to  be  to  draw  all  our  income  from  trade.  From  the  sam 
ple  given  of  the  temper  of  the  House  of  Delegates  on  this  sub 
ject,  it  is  much  to  be  feared  that  the  duties  will  be  augmented 
with  so  daring  a  hand,  that  we  shall  drive  away  our  trade  in 
stead  of  making  it  tributary  to  our  Treasury.  The  only  hope 
that  can  be  indulged  is  that  of  moderating  the  fury.  The  port 
bill  was  defended  against  a  repeal  by  about  70  votes  against 
about  40.  The  revised  code  is  not  quite  finished,  and  must  re 
ceive  the  last  hand  from  a  succeeding  Assembly.  Several  bills 
of  consequence  being  rendered  unfit  to  be  passed  in  their  pres 
ent  form,  by  a  change  of  circumstances  since  they  were  pre 
pared,  necessarily  require  revision.  Others,  as  the  Education 
bill,  <fec.,  are  thought  to  be  adapted  only  to  a  further  degree  of 
wealth  and  population.  Others,  as  the  Execution  bill,  which 
subjects  lands  to  debts,  do  not  find  yet  an  adequate  patronage. 
Several  bills,  also,  and  particularly  the  bill  relating  to  crimes 
and  punishments,  have  been  rejected,  and  require  reconsidera 
tion  from  another  Assembly.  This  last  bill,  after  being  purged 

1787.  LETTERS.  269 

of  its  objectionable  peculiarities,  was  thrown  out  on  the  third 
reading  by  a  single  vote. 

It  will  little  elevate  your  idea  of  our  Senate  to  be  told  that 
they  negatived  the  bill  defining  the  privileges  of  Ambassadors, 
on  the  principle,  as  I  am  told,  that  an  alien  ought  not  to  be  put 
on  better  ground  than  a  citizen.  British  debts  have  not  yet 
been  mentioned,  and  probably  will  not,  unless  Congress  say 
something  on  the  matter  before  the  adjournment. 


RICHMOND,  January  9th,  1787. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — Your  favor  of  the  9th  ultimo  has  been  so 
long  on  hand  unanswered,  that  I  cannot  now  acknowledge  it 
without  observing,  in  the  apology  for  the  delay,  that  I  waited 
for  some  measures  of  which  I  wished  to  communicate  the  event. 
The  district  bill,  of  which  I  formerly  made  mention,  was  finally 
thrown  into  a  very  curious  situation,  and  lost  by  a  single  voice. 
I  refer  you  for  its  history  to  Col.  Pendleton,  who  was  here  at 
the  time,  and  is  now  with  you.  An  attempt  has  been  since  made 
to  render  the  General  Court  more  efficient,  by  lengthening  its 
terms,  and  transferring  the  criminal  business  to  the  Judges  of 
the  Admiralty.  As  most  of  the  little  motives  which  co-operated 
with  a  dislike  to  Justice  in  defeating  the  District  Bill  happened 
to  be  in  favour  of  the  subsequent  attempt,  it  went  through  the 
House  of  Delegates  by  a  large  majority.  The  Senate  have  dis 
appointed  the  majority  infinitely  in  putting  a  negative  on  it,  as 
we  just  learn  that  they  have  done,  by  a  single  voice.  An 
amendment  of  the  County  Courts  has  also  been  lost,  through  a 
disagreement  of  the  two  Houses  on  the  subject.  Our  merit  on 
the  score  of  Justice  has  been  entirely  of  the  negative  kind.  It 
has  been  sufficient  to  reject  violations  of  this  cardinal  virtue, 
but  not  to  make  any  positive  provisions  in  its  behalf. 

The  revised  code  has  not  been  so  thoroughly  passed  as  1 
hoped  at  the  date  of  my  last.  The  advance  of  the  session,  the 
coldness  of  a  great  many,  and  the  dislike  of  some  to  the  subject, 

270  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

required  that  it  should  be  pressed  more  gently  than  could  be 
reconciled  with  a  prosecution  of  the  work  to  the  end.  I  had 
long  foreseen  that  a  supplemental  revision,  as  well  of  some  of 
the  articles  of  the  Code  as  of  the  laws  passed  since  it  was  di 
gested,  would  become  necessary,  and  had  settled  a  plan  for  the 
purpose  with  myself.  This  plan  was  to  suspend  the  laws  adopted 
from  the  Code  until  the  supplement  could  be  prepared,  and 
then  to  put  the  whole  in  force  at  once.  Several  circumstances 
satisfied  me  of  late,  that  if  the  work  was  put  within  the  reach  of 
the  next  Assembly,  there  would  be  danger  not  only  of  its  being 
left  in  a  mutilated  state,  but  of  its  being  lost  altogether.  The 
observations  in  your  favor  above  acknowledged  encouraged 
me  to  propose  that  the  parts  of  the  Code  adopted  should  take 
effect  without  waiting  for  the  last  hand  to  it.  This  idea  has 
been  pursued,  and  the  bills  passed  at  the  last  session  are  to 
commence  as  then  determined,  those  passed  at  the  present  being 
suspended  until  July  next. 

I  would  myself  have  preferred  a  suspension  of  the  former 
also  till  July,  for  the  sake  of  a  more  thorough  promulgation, 
and  of  a  cotemporary  introduction  of  the  laws,  many  of  which 
are  connected  together;  but  the  Senate  thought  otherwise,  and 
in  a  ticklish  stage  of  the  session,  the  friends  of  the  code  in  the 
House  of  Delegates  joined  me  in  opinion  that  it  would  be  well 
to  create  no  unnecessary  delays  or  disagreements.  I  have 
strong  apprehensions  that  the  work  may  never  be  systemati 
cally  perfected,  for  the  reasons  which  you  deduce  from  our 
form  of  Government.  Should  a  disposition,  however,  continue 
in  the  Legislature  as  favorable  as  it  has  been  in  some  stages  of 
the  business,  I  think  a  succession  of  revisions,  each  growing 
shorter  than  the  preceding,  might  ultimately  bring  a  completion 
within  the  compass  of  a  single  session.  At  all  events,  the  in 
valuable  acquisition  of  important  bills,  prepared  at  leisure  by 
skilful  hands,  is  so  sensibly  impressed  on  thinking  people  by 
the  crudeness  and  tedious  discussion  of  such  as  are  generally 
introduced,  that  the  expence  of  a  continued  revision  will  be 
thought  by  all  such  to  be  judiciously  laid  out  for  this  purpose 

1787.  LETTERS.  271 

The  great  objection  which  I  personally  feel  arises  from  the 
necessity  we  are  under  of  imposing  the  weight  of  these  projects 
on  those  whose  past  services  have  so  justly  purchased  an  ex 
emption  from  future  labours.  In  your  case,  the  additional  con 
sideration  of  ill  health  became  almost  an  affair  of  conscience, 
and  I  have  been  no  otherwise  able  to  stifle  the  remorse  of  hav 
ing  nominated  you,  along  with  Mr.  Wythe  and  Mr.  Blair,  for 
reviewing  the  subject  left  unfinished,  than  by  reflecting  that 
your  colleagues  will  feel  every  disposition  to  abridge  your  share 
of  the  burden,  and  in  case  of  such  an  increase  of  your  infirmity 
as  to  oblige  you  to  renounce  all  share,  that  they  are  authorised 
to  appoint  to,  I  will  not  say  to  fill,  the  vacancy.  I  flatter  my 
self  that  you  will  be  at  least  able  to  assist  in  general  consulta 
tions  on  the  subject,  and  to  adjust  the  bills  unpassed  to  the 
changes  which  have  taken  place  since  they  were  prepared.  On 
the  most  unfortunate  suppositions,  my  intentions  will  be  sure  to 
find  in  your  benevolence  a  pardon  for  my  error. 

The  Senate  have  saved  our  commerce  from  a  dreadful  blow 
which  it  would  have  sustained  from  a  bill  passed  in  the  House 
of  Delegates,  imposing  enormous  duties,  without  waiting  for  the 
concurrence  of  the  other  States,  or  even  of  Maryland.  There 
is  a  rage  at  present  for  high  duties,  partly  for  the  purpose  of 
revenue,  partly  of  forcing  manufactures,  which  it  is  difficult  to 
resist.  It  seems  to  be  forgotten,  in  the  first  case,  that  in  the 
arithmetic  of  the  customs,  as  Dean  Swift  observes,  2  and  2  do 
not  make  four;  and  in  the  second,  that  manufactures  will  come 
of  themselves  when  we  are  ripe  for  them.  A  prevailing  argu 
ment,  among  others  on  the  subject,  is,  that  we  ought  not  to  be 
dependent  on  foreign  nations  for  useful  articles,  as  the  event  of 
a  war  may  cut  off  all  external  supplies.  This  argument  cer 
tainly  loses  its  force  when  it  is  considered  that,  in  case  of  a 
war  hereafter,  we  should  stand  on  very  different  ground  from 
what  we  lately  did.  Neutral  nations,  whose  rights  are  becom 
ing  every  day  more  and  more  extensive,  would  not  now  suffer 
themselves  to  be  shut  out  from  our  ports,  nor  would  the  hostile 
Nation  presume  to  attempt  it.  As  far  as  relates  to  implements 

272  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17P7. 

of  war,  which  are  contraband,  the  argument  for  our  fabrication 
of  them  is  certainly  good. 

Our  latest  information  from  the  Eastward  has  not  removed  our 
apprehensions  of  ominous  events  in  that  quarter.  It  is  pretty 
certain  that  the  seditious  party  has  become  formidable  to  the 
Government,  and  that  they  have  opened  a  communication  with 
the  viceroy  of  Canada.  I  am  not  enough  acquainted  with  the 
proceedings  of  Congress  to  judge  of  some  of  the  points  which 
you  advert  to.  The  regulations  of  their  land  office  have  ap 
peared  to  me  nearly  in  the  light  in  which  they  do  to  you. 

I  expect  to  set  out  in  a  few  days  for  New  York,  when  I  shall 
revive  my  claim  to  a  correspondence  which  formerly  gave  me 
so  much  pleasure,  and  which  will  enable  me,  perhaps,  to  answer 
your  queries.  The  end  of  my  paper  will  excuse  an  abrupt  but 
affectionate  adieu. 


NEW  YORK,  February  15th,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last  was  from  Richmond,  of  the  4th  of  De 
cember,  and  contained  a  sketch  of  our  Legislative  proceedings 
prior  to  that  date. 

The  principal  proceedings  of  subsequent  date  relate,  as 
nearly  as  I  can  recollect,  1st,  to  a  rejection  of  the  Bill  on 
crimes  and  punishments,  which,  after  being  altered  so  as  to 
remove  most  of  the  objections,  as  was  thought,  was  lost  by  a 
single  vote.  The  rage  against  Horse-stealers  had  a  great 
influence  on  the  fate  of  the  bill.  Our  old  bloody  code  is  by 
this  event  fully  restored,  the  prerogative  of  conditional  pardon 
having  been  taken  from  the  Executive  by  a  judgment  of  the 
Court  of  Appeals,  and  the  temporary  law  granting  it  to  them 
having  expired,  and  been  left  unrevived.  I  am  not  without  hope 
that  the  rejected  bill  will  find  a  more  favorable  disposition  in 
the  next  Assembly.  2dly.  To  the  bill  for  diffusing  knowledge ; 

17<7.  LETTERS.  273 

it  went  through  two  readings  by  a  small  majority,  and  was  no* 
pushed  to  a  third  one.  The  necessity  of  a  systematic  provision 
on  the  subject  was  admitted  on  all  hands.  The  objections 
against  that  particular  provision  were:  1.  The  expence,  which 
was  alleged  to  exceed  the  ability  of  the  people.  2.  The  diffi 
culty  of  executing  it  in  the  present  sparse  settlement  of  the 
country.  3.  The  inequality  of  the  districts,  as  contended  by  the 
Western  members.  The  last  objection  is  of  little  weight,  and 
might  have  been  easily  removed  if  it  had  been  urged  in  an 
early  stage  of  the  discussion.  The  bill  now  rests  on  the  same 
footing  with  the  other  unpassed  Bills  in  the  Revisal. 

3dly.  To  the  Revisal  at  large.  It  was  found  impossible  to 
get  through  the  system  at  the  late  session,  for  several  reasons : 
1.  The  changes  which  have  taken  place,  since  its  compilement, 
in  our  affairs  and  our  laws,  particularly  those  relating  to  our 
Courts,  called  for  changes  in  some  of  the  bills,  which  could  not 
be  made  with  safety  by  the  Legislature.  2.  The  pressure  of 
other  business,  which,  though  of  less  importance  in  itself,  yet 
was  more  interesting  for  the  moment.  3.  The  alarm  excited 
by  an  approach  toward  the  Execution  bill,  which  subjects  land 
to  the  payment  of  debts.  This  bill  could  not  have  been  carried, 
was  too  important  to  be  lost,  and  even  too  difficult  to  be 
amended  without  destroying  its  texture.  4.  The  danger  of 
passing  the  Repealing  Bill  at  the  end  of  the  Code,  before  the 
operation  of  the  various  amendments,  <fcc.,  made  by  the  Assem 
bly,  could  be  leisurely  examined  by  competent  Judges.  Under 
these  circumstances,  it  was  thought  best  to  hand  over  the  residue 
of  the  work  to  our  successors ;  and  in  order  to  have  it  made 
compleat,  Mr.  Pendleton,  Mr.  Wythe,  and  Blair,  were  appointed 
a  Committee  to  amend  the  unpassed  bills,  and  also  to  prepare  a 
supplemental  revision  of  the  laws  which  have  been  passed  since 
the  original  work  was  executed. 

It  became  a  critical  question  with  the  friends  of  the  Revisal 
whether  the  parts  of  the  Revisal  actually  passed  should  be 
suspended  in  the  mean  time,  or  left  to  take  their  operation. 
The  first  plan  was  strongly  recommended  by  the  advantage  of 
giving  effect  to  the  system  at  once,  and  by  the  inconveniency 

VOL.  i.  18 

274  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17*7. 

arising  from  the  latter,  of  leaving  the  old  laws  to  a  constructive 
repeal  only.  The  latter,  notwithstanding,  was  preferred,  as 
putting  the  adopted  bills  out  of  the  reach  of  a  succeeding  As 
sembly,  which  might  possibly  be  unfriendly  to  the  system  alto 
gether.  There  was  good  reason  to  suspect  Mr.  Henry,  who 
will  certainly  be  then  a  member.  By  suffering  the  bills  which 
have  passed  to  take  effect  in  the  mean  time,  it  will  be  extremely 
difficult  to  get  rid  of  them. 

4th:y.  Religion.  The  act  incorporating  the  protestant  Epis 
copal  Church  excited  the  most  pointed  opposition  from  the 
other  sects.  They  even  pushed  their  attacks  against  the  reser 
vation  of  the  Glebes,  &c.,  to  the  church  exclusively.  The 
latter  circumstance  involved  the  Legislature  in  some  embar 
rassment.  The  result  was  a  repeal  of  the  act,  with  a  saving  of 
the  property.  5th.  The  district  Courts.  After  a  great  struggle, 
they  were  lost  in  the  House  of  Delegates  by  a  single  voice. 
6thly.  Taxes.  The  attempts  to  reduce  former  taxes  were  baffled, 
and  sundry  new  taxes  added :  on  lawyers,  yV  of  their  fees  •  on 
Clerks  of  Courts,  J  of  do.;  on  Doctors,  a  small  tax;  a  tax  on 
houses  in  towns,  so  as  to  level  their  burden  with  that  of  real 
estate  in  the  country ;  very  heavy  taxes  on  riding  carriages,  &c. 
Besides  these,  an  additional  duty  of  2  per  cent,  ad  valorem  on 
all  merchandises  imported  in  vessels  of  nations  not  in  treaty 
with  the  United  States,  an  additional  duty  of  four  pence  on 
every  gallon  of  wine  except  French  wines,  and  <if  two  pence 
on  every  gallon  of  distilled  spirits  except  French  brandies, 
which  are  made  duty  free.  The  exceptions  in  favor  of  France 
were  the  effect  of  the  sentiments  and  regulations  communicated 
to  you  by  Mr.  Calonne.  A  printed  copy  of  the  communication 
was  received  the  last  day  of  the  session  in  a  newspaper  from 
New  York,  and  made  a  warm  impression  on  the  Assembly. 
Some  of  the  taxes  are  liable  to  objections,  and  were  much  com 
plained  of.  With  the  additional  duties  on  trade,  they  will  con 
siderably  enhance  our  revenue.  I  should  have  mentioned  a 
duty  of  6s.  per  Hogshead  on  Tobacco  for  complying  with  a 
special  requisition  of  Congress  for  supporting  the  corps  of  men 
raised  for  the  public  security. 

1787.  LETTERS.  275 

7th.  The  Mississippi.  At  the  date  of  my  last,  the  House  of 
Delegates  only  had  entered  into  Resolutions  against  a  surren 
der  of  the  right  of  navigating  it.  The  Senate  shortly  after 
concurred.  The  States  south  of  Virginia  still  adhere,  as  far  as 
I  can  learn,  to  the  same  ideas  as  have  governed  Virginia.  New 
Jersey,  one  of  the  States  in  Congress  which  was  on  the  oppo 
site  side,  has  now  instructed  her  Delegates  against  surrendering 
to  Spain  the  navigation  of  the  River,  even  for  a  limited  time ; 
and  Pennsylvania,  it  is  expected,  will  do  the  same.  I  am  told 
that  Mr.  Jay  has  not  ventured  to  proceed  in  his  project,  and  I 
suppose  will  not  now  do  it.  8th.  The  Convention  for  amending 
the  federal  Constitution.  At  the  date  of  my  last,  Virginia  had 
passed  an  act  for  appointing  deputies.  The  deputation  consists 
of  General  Washington,  Mr.  Henry,  late  Governor,  Mr.  Ran 
dolph,  present  Governor,  Mr.  Blair,  Mr.  Wythe,  Col.  Mason, 
and  James  Madison. 

North  Carolina  has  also  made  an  appointment,  including  her 
present  and  late  Governor.  South  Carolina,  it  is  expected  by 
her  delegates  in  Congress,  will  not  fail  to  follow  these  exam 
ples.  Maryland  has  determined,  I  just  hear,  to  appoint,  but  has 
not  yet  agreed  on  her  deputies.  Delaware,  Pennsylvania,  and 
New  Jersey,  have  made  respectable  appointments.  New  York 
has  not  yet  decided  on  the  point.  Her  Assembly  has  just  re 
jected  the  impost,  which  has  an  unpropitious  aspect.  It  is  not 
clear,  however,  that  she  may  not  yet  accede  to  the  other  meas 
ure.  Connecticut  has  a  great  aversion  to  Conventions,  and  is 
otherwise  habitually  disinclined  to  abridge  her  State  preroga 
tives.  Her  concurrence,  nevertheless,  is  not  despaired  of.  Mas 
sachusetts,  it  is  said,  will  concur,  though  hitherto  not  well  in 
clined.  New  Hampshire  will  probably  do  as  she  does.  Rhode 
Island  can  be  relied  on  for  nothing  that  is  good.  On  all  great 
points,  she  must  sooner  or  later  bend  to  Massachusetts  and  Con 

Having  but  just  come  to  this  place,  I  do  not  undertake  to 
give  you  any  general  view  of  American  affairs,  or  of  the  partic 
ular  state  of  things  in  Massachusetts.  The  omission  is  proba 
bly  of  little  consequence,  as  information  of  this  sort  must  fall 

276  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1737. 

within  your  correspondence  with  the  office  of  foreign  affairs. 
I  shall  not,  however,  plead  this  consideration  in  a  future  letter, 
when  I  hope  to  be  more  able  to  write  fully. 


NEW  YORK,  Feb.  21,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — Some  little  time  before  my  arrival  here,  a  quorum 
of  the  States  was  made  up,  and  General  St.  Clair  put  in  the 
Chair.  We  have  at  present  nine  States  on  the  ground,  but  shall 
lose  South  Carolina  to-day.  Other  States  are  daily  expected. 
What  business  of  moment  may  be  done  by  the  present  or  a  fuller 
meeting  is  uncertain. 

The  objects  now  depending  and  most  immediately  in  prospect 
are:  1.  The  Treaty  of  Peace.  The  Secretary  of  foreign  Affairs 
has  very  ably  reported  a  view  of  the  infractions  on  both  sider?, 
his  exposition  of  the  contested  articles,  and  the  steps  proper  to 
be  taken  by  Congress.  I  find,  what  I  was  not  before  apprized 
of,  that  more  than  one  infraction  on  our  part  preceded  even  the 
violation  on  the  other  side  in  the  instance  of  the  negroes.  Some 
of  the  reasoning  on  the  subject  of  the  debts  would  be  rather 
grating  to  Virginia.  A  full  compliance  with  the  Treaty  accord 
ing  to  judicial  constructions,  and  as  a  ground  for  insisting  on  a 
reciprocal  compliance,  is  the  proposition  in  which  the  Report 
terminates.  2.  A  recommendation  of  the  proposed  Convention 
in  May.  Congress  have  been  much  divided  and  embarrassed 
on  the  question  whether  their  taking  an  interest  in  the  measure 
would  impede  or  promote  it.  On  one  side  it  has  been  urged 
that  some  of  the  backward  States  have  scruples  against  acce 
ding  to  it  without  some  constitutional  sanction;  on  the  other, 
that  other  States  will  consider  any  interference  of  Congress  as 
proceeding  from  the  same  views  which  have  hitherto  excited 
their  jealousies.  A  vote  of  the  Legislature  here,  entered  into 
yesterday,  will  give  some  relief  in  the  case.  They  have  in 
structed  their  delegates  in  Congress  to  move  for  the  reconsid- 

1787  LETTERS.  277 

eration  in  question.  The  vote  was  carried  by  a  majority  of  one 
only  in  the  Senate,  and  there  is  room  to  suspect  that  the  minor 
ity  were  actuated  by  a  dislike  to  the  substance,  rather  than  by 
any  objection  against  the  form  of  the  business.  A  large  majority 
in  the  other  Branch  a  few  days  ago  put  a  definitive  veto  on  the 

It  would  seem  as  if  the  politics  of  this  State  are  directed  by 
individual  interests  and  plans,  which  might  be  incommoded  by 
the  controul  of  an  efficient  federal  Government.  The  four  States 
north  of  it  are  still  to  make  their  decision  on  the  subject  of  the 
Convention.  I  am  told  by  one  of  the  Massachusetts  delegates 
that  the  Legislature  of  that  State,  which  is  now  sitting,  will 
certainly  accede  and  appoint  Deputies  if  Congress  declare  their 
approbation  of  the  measure.  I  have  similar  information  that 
Connecticut  will  probably  come  in,  though  it  is  said  that  the 
interference  of  Congress  will  rather  have  a  contrary  tendency 
there.  It  is  expected  that  South  Carolina  will  not  fail  to  adopt 
the  plan,  and  that  Georgia  is  equally  well  disposed.  All  the 
intermediate  States  between  the  former  and  New  York  have 
already  appointed  Deputies,  except  Maryland,  which,  it  is  said, 
means  to  do  it,  and  has  entered  into  some  vote  which  declares 
as  much.  Nothing  has  yet  been  done  by  the  new  Congress  with 
regard  to  the  Mississippi. 

Our  latest  information  from  Massachusetts  gives  hopes  that 
the  meeting,  or,  as  the  Legislature  there  now  style  it,  the  Re 
bellion,  is  nearly  extinct.  If  the  measures,  however,  on  foot  for 
disarming  and  disfranchising  those  concerned  in  it  should  be 
carried  into  effect,  a  new  crisis  may  be  brought  on. 

I  have  not  been  here  long  enough  to  gather  the  general  senti 
ments  of  leading  characters  touching  our  affairs  and  prospects. 
I  am  inclined  to  hope  that  they  will  gradually  be  concentered 
in  the  plan  of  a  thorough  reform  of  the  existing  system.  Those 
who  may  lean  towards  a  monarchical  government,  and  who,  I 
suspect,  are  swayed  by  very  indigested  ideas,  will  of  course 
abandon  an  unattainable  object  whenever  a  prospect  opens  of 
rendering  the  Republican  form  competent  to  its  purposes.  Those 
who  remain  attached  to  the  latter  form  must  soon  perceive  that 

•278  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

it  cannot  be  preserved  at  all  under  any  modification  which  does 
not  redress  the  ills  experienced  from  our  present  establish 
ments.  Virginia  is  the  only  State  which  has  made  any  provis 
ion  for  the  late  moderate  but  essential  requisition  of  Congress, 
and  her  provision  is  a  partial  one  only. 

This  would  have  been  of  earlier  date,  but  I  have  waited  for 
more  interesting  subjects  for  it.  I  shall  do  myself  the  pleasure 
of  repeating  the  liberty  of  dropping  you  a  few  lines  as  often  as 
proper  occasions  arise,  on  no  other  condition,  however,  than 
your  waiving  the  trouble  of  regular  answers  or  acknowledge 
ments  on  your  part. 

With  the  greatest  respect  and  affection,  I  am,  D*  Sir,  your 
obt  friend  and  serv. 


NEW  YORK,  February  24,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — If  the  contents  of  the  newspapers  of  this  place 
find  their  way  into  the  Gazettes  of  Richmond,  you  will  have 
learnt  that  the  expedition  of  General  Lincoln  against  the  in 
surgents  has  effectually  dispersed  the  main  body  of  them.  It 
appears,  however,  that  there  are  still  some  detachments  which 
remain  to  be  subdued,  and  that  the  government  of  Massachu 
setts  consider  very  strong  precautions  as  necessary  against 
farther  eruptions.  The  principal  incendiaries  have,  unluckily, 
made  off.  By  some  it  is  said  that  they  are  gone  to  Canada; 
by  others,  that  they  have  taken  shelter  in  Vermont;  and  by  some, 
that  they  are  opening  a  communication  with  the  upper  parts  of 
this  State.  The  latter  suggestion  has  probably  some  color,  as 
the  Governor  here  has  thought  proper  to  offer  rewards  for  them, 
after  the  example  of  Governor  Bowdoin.  We  have  no  inter 
esting  information  from  Europe. 

The  only  step  of  moment  taken  by  Congress,  since  my  arrival, 
has  been  a  recommendation  of  the  proposed  meeting  in  May,  for 
revising  the  federal  Articles.  Some  of  the  States,  considering 

17F7.  LETTERS.  279 

this  measure  as  an  extra-constitutional  one,  had  scruples  against 
concurring  in  it  without  some  regular  sanction.  By  others,  it 
was  thought  best  that  Congress  should  remain  neutral  in  the 
business,  as  the  best  antidote  for  the  jealousy  of  an  ambitious 
desire  in  them  to  get  more  power  into  their  hands.  This  sus 
pense  was  at  length  removed  by  an  instruction  from  this  State 
to  its  delegates  to  urge  a  recommendatory  Resolution  in  Con 
gress,  which  accordingly  passed  a  few  days  ago.  Notwith 
standing  this  instruction  from  N.  York,  there  is  room  to  sus 
pect  her  disposition  not  to  be  very  federal,  a  large  majority  of 
the  House  of  Delegates  having  very  lately  entered  into  a  defin 
itive  refusal  of  the  impost,  and  the  instruction  itself  having 
passed  in  the  Senate  by  a  casting  vote  only.  In  consequence 
of  the  sanction  given  by  Congress,  Massachusetts,  it  is  said, 
will  send  Deputies  to  the  Convention,  and  her  example  will 
have  great  weight  with  the  other  New  England  States.  The 
States  from  North  Carolina  to  New  Jersey,  inclusive,  have 
made  their  appointments,  except  Maryland,  who  has,  as  yet, 
only  determined  that  she  will  make  them.  The  gentlemen  here 
from  South  Carolina  and  Georgia  expect  that  those  States  will 
follow  the  general  example.  Upon  the  whole,  therefore,  it 
seems  probable  that  a  meeting  will  take  place,  and  that  it  will 
be  a  pretty  full  one. 

What  the  issue  of  it  will  be  is  among  the  other  arcana  of  fu 
turity,  and  nearly  as  inscrutable  as  any  of  them.  In  general, 
I  find  men  of  reflection  much  less  sanguine  as  to  a  new,  than 
despondent  as  to  the  present  system.  Indeed,  the  present  sys 
tem  neither  has  nor  deserves  advocates;  and  if  some  very  strong 
props  are  not  applied,  will  quickly  tumble  to  the  ground.  No 
money  is  paid  into  the  public  Treasury;  no  respect  is  paid  to 
the  federal  authority.  Not  a  single  State  complies  with  the 
requisitions;  several  pass  them  over  in  silence,  and  some  posi 
tively  reject  them.  The  payments,  ever  since  the  peace,  have 
been  decreasing,  and  of  late  fall  short  even  of  the  pittance  ne 
cessary  for  the  civil  list  of  the  Confederacy.  It  is  not  possible 
that  a  Government  can  last  long  under  these  circumstances. 

If  the  approaching  convention  should  not  agree  on  some  rem- 

280  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

edy,  I  am  persuaded  that  some  very  different  arrangement  will 
ensue.  The  late  turbulent  scenes  in  Massachusetts,  and  infa 
mous  ones  in  Rhode  Island,  have  done  inexpressible  injury  to 
the  republican  character  in  that  part  of  the  United  States,  and 
a  propensity  towards  monarchy  is  said  to  have  been  produced 
by  it  in  some  leading  minds.  The  bulk  of  the  people  will  prob 
ably  prefer  the  lesser  evil  of  a  partition  of  the  Union  into  three 
more  practicable  and  energetic  governments.  The  latter  idea, 
I  find,  after  long  confinement  to  individual  speculations  and 
private  circles,  is  beginning  to  shew  itself  in  the  newspapers. 
But  though  it  is  a  lesser  evil,  it  is  so  great  a  one  that  I  hope 
the  danger  of  it  will  rouse  all  the  real  friends  of  the  Revolution 
to  exert  themselves  in  favor  of  such  an  organization  of  the  Con 
federacy  as  will  perpetuate  the  Union  and  redeem  the  honor  of 
the  Republican  name. 

I  shall  follow  this  introductory  letter  with  a  few  lines  from 
time  to  time,  as  a  proper  subject  for  them  occurs.  The  only 
stipulation  I  exact  on  your  part  is,  that  you  will  not  consider 
them  as  claiming  either  answers  or  acknowledgements,  and  that 
you  will  believe  me  to  be,  with  sincerest  wishes  for  your  health 
and  every  other  happiness, 

Your  affectionate  friend  and  serv. 


NEW  YORK,  Feb^  25th,  1787. 
HONDSlR—  *  *  *  *  * 

The  success  of  General  Lincoln  against  the  insurgents  has 
corresponded  with  the  hopes  of  the  Government.  It  is  still  said, 
notwithstanding,  that  there  remains  a  great  deal  of  leven  in  the 
mass  of  the  people.  Connecticut  has  not  caught  the  fermenta 
tion,  but  she  pays  no  taxes.  Congress  received  a  letter  a  few 
days  ago  from  the  Governor  of  that  State,  inclosing  a  non-com 
pliance  of  the  Assembly  with  the  requisitions  of  Congress.  In 
fact,  payments  to  the  federal  Treasury  are  ceasing  everywhere, 

1787.  LETTERS.  281 

and  the  minds  of  people  losing  all  confidence  in  our  political 
system.  What  change  may  be  wrought  by  the  proposed  Con 
vention  is  uncertain.  There  is  a  pro-spect,  at  present,  of  pretty 
general  appointments  to  it. 


NEW  YORK,  March  18th.  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — Recollecting  to  have  heard  you  mention  a  plan 
formed  by  the  Empress  of  Russia  for  a  comparative  view  of  the 
Aborigines  of  the  new  Continent,  and  of  the  N.  E.  parts  of  the 
old,  through  the  medium  of  their  respective  tongues,  and  that 
her  wishes  had  been  conveyed  to  you  for  your  aid  in  obtaining 
the  American  vocabularies,  I  have  availed  myself  of  an  oppor 
tunity,  offered  by  the  kindness  of  Mr.  Hawkins,  of  taking  a 
copy  of  such  a  sample  of  the  Cherokee  and  Choctaw  dialects  as 
his  late  commission  to  treat  with  them  enabled  him  to  obtain, 
and  do  myself  the  honor  now  of  enclosing  it.  I  do  not  know 
how  far  the  list  of  words  made  use  of  by  Mr.  Hawkins  may  cor 
respond  with  the  standard  of  the  Empress,  nor  how  far  nations 
so  remote  as  the  Cherokees  and  Choctaws  from  the  N.  W. 
shores  of  America  may  fall  within  the  scheme  of  comparison. 
I  presume,  however,  that  a  great  proportion,  at  least,  of  the 
words  will  answer,  and  that  the  laudable  curiosity  which  sug 
gests  investigations  of  this  sort  will  be  pleased  with  every  en 
largement  of  the  field  for  indulging  it.  Not  finding  it  conve 
nient  to  retain  a  copy  of  the  enclosed,  as  I  wished  to  do,  for  my 
self,  I  must  ask  the  favor  of  your  amanuensis  to  perform  that 
task  for  me. 

The  appointments  for  the  Convention  go  on  very  successfully. 
Since  the  date  of  my  last,  Georgia,  South  Carolina,  New  York, 
Massachusetts,  and  New  Hampshire,  have  come  into  the  meas 
ure.  Georgia  and  New  Hampshire  have  constituted  their  Dele 
gates  in  Congress  their  representatives  in  Convention.  South 
Carolina  has  appointed  Mr.  J.  Rutledge,  General  Pinckney,  Mr. 

282  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

Laureus,  Major  Butler,  and  Mr.  Charles  Pinckney,  late  member 
of  Congress.  The  deputies  of  Massachusetts  are  Mr.  Dana,  Mr. 
King,  Mr.  Gorham,  Mr.  Gerry,  Mr.  Strong.  I  am  told  that  a 
Resolution  of  the  Legislature  of  this  State,  which  originated 
with  their  Senate,  lays  its  deputies  under  the  fetter  of  not  de 
parting  from  the  5th  of  the  present  articles  of  Confederation. 
As  this  Resolution  passed  before  the  recommendatory  act  of 
Congress  was  known,  it  is  conjectured  that  it  may  be  rescinded; 
but  its  having  passed  at  all  denotes  a  much  greater  prevalence 
of  political  jealousy  in  that  quarter  than  had  been  imagined. 
The  deputation  of  New  York  consists  of  Colonel  Hamilton, 
Judge  Yates,  and  a  Mr.  Lansing.  The  two  last  are  said  to  be 
pretty  much  linked  to  the  anti-federal  party  here,  and  are  likely, 
of  course,  to  be  a  clog  on  their  colleague.  It  is  not  doubted, 
now,  that  Connecticut  and  Rhode  Island  will  avoid  the  singu 
larity  of  being  unrepresented  in  the  Convention. 

The  thinness  of  Congress  has  been  an  obstacle  to  all  the  im 
portant  business  before  them.  At  present  there  are  nine  States 
on  the  ground;  but  this  number,  though  adequate  to  every  ob 
ject  when  unanimous,  makes  a  slow  progress  in  business  that 
requires  seven  States  only.  And  I  see  little  prospect  of  the 
number  being  increased. 

By  our  latest  and  most  authentic  information  from  Massachu 
setts,  it  would  seem  that  a  calm  has  been  restored  by  the  expe 
dition  of  General  Lincoln.  The  precautions  taking  by  the 
State,  however,  betray  a  great  distrust  of  its  continuance.  Be 
sides  their  act  disqualifying  the  malcontents  from  voting  in  the 
election  of  members  for  the  Legislature,  <fcc.,  another  has  been 
passed  for  raising  a  corps  of  1,000  or  1,500  men,  and  appropri 
ating  the  choicest  revenues  of  the  country  to  its  support.  It  is 
said  that  at  least  half  of  the  insurgents  decline  accepting  the 
terms  annexed  to  the  amnesty,  and  that  this  defiance  of  the  law 
against  Treason  is  countenanced  not  only  by  the  impunity  with 
which  they  shew  themselves  on  public  occasions,  even  with  in 
solent  badges  of  their  character,  but  by  marks  of  popular  favor 
conferred  on  them  in  various  instances  in  the  election  to  local 

1787.  LETTERS.  283 

A  proposition  has  been  introduced  and  discussed  in  the  Legis 
lature  of  this  State  for  relinquishing  its  claim  to  Vermont,  and 
urging  the  admission  of  it  into  the  Confederacy.  As  far  as  I 
can  learn,  difficulties  will  arise  only  in  settling  the  form,  the 
substance  of  the  measures  being  not  disliked  by  any  of  the  par 
ties.  It  is  wished  by  those  who  are  not  interested  in  claims  to 
lands  within  that  district  to  guard  against  any  responsibility 
in  the  State  for  compensation.  On  the  other  side,  it  will  at 
least  be  insisted  that  they  shall  not  be  barred  the  privilege  of 
carrying  their  claims  before  a  federal  court,  in  case  Vermont 
shall  become  a  party  to  the  Union.  I  think  it  probable,  if  she 
should  not  decline  becoming  such  altogether,  that  she  will  make 
two  conditions,  if  not  more:  1.  That  neither  her  boundaries 
nor  the  rights  of  her  citizens  shall  be  impeachable  under  the 
9th  article  of  Confederation.  2.  That  no  share  of  the  public 
debt  already  contracted  shall  be  allotted  to  her. 

I  have  a  letter  from  Col.  John  Campbell,  dated  at  Pittsburg, 
from  which  I  gather  that  the  people  of  that  quarter  are  thrown 
into  great  agitation  by  the  reported  intention  of  Congress  con 
cerning  the  Mississippi,  and  that  measures  are  on  foot  for  uni 
ting  the  minds  of  all  the  different  settlements  which  have  a 
common  interest  at  stake.  Should  this  policy  take  effect,  I 
think  there  is  much  ground  to  apprehend  that  the  ambition  of  in 
dividuals  will  quickly  mix  itself  with  the  first  impulses  of  resent 
ment  and  interest;  that  by  degrees  the  people  may  be  led  to  set 
up  for  themselves;  that  they  will  slide,  like  Vermont,  insensibly 
into  a  communication  and  latent  connection  with  their  British 
neighbors,  and,  in  pursuance  of  the  same  example,  make  such  a 
disposition  of  the  Western  Territory  as  will  entice  into  it  most 
effectually  emigrants  from  all  parts  of  the  Union.  If  these  ap 
prehensions  be  not  imaginary,  they  suggest  many  observations 
extremely  interesting  to  Spain  as  well  as  to  the  United  States. 

I  hear  from  Richmond,  with  much  concern,  that  Mr.  Henry 
has  positively  declined  his  mission  to  Philadelphia.  Besides 
the  loss  of  his  services  on  that  theatre,  there  is  danger,  I  feart 
that  this  step  has  proceeded  from  a  wish  to  leave  his  conduct 

284  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

unfettered  on  another  theatre,  where  the  result  of  the  Conven 
tion  will  receive  its  destiny  from  his  omnipotence. 

With  every  sentiment  of  esteem  and  affection,  I  remain,  Dear 
Sir,  your  obt  and  very  h'ble  serv. 


NEW  YORK,  March  19th,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — My  last  was  of  the  llth  of  February,  and  went 
by  the  packet.  This  will  go  to  England  in  the  care  of  a  French 
gentleman,  who  will  consign  it  to  the  care  of  Mr.  Adams. 

The  appointments  for  the  Convention  go  on  auspiciously. 
Since  my  last,  Georgia,  South  Carolina,  New  York,  Massachu 
setts,  and  New  Hampshire,  have  come  into  the  measure.  The 
first  and  the  last  of  these  States  have  commissioned  their  dele 
gates  to  Congress  as  their  representatives  in  Convention.  The 
deputation  of  Massachusetts  consists  of  Mess".  Gorham,  Dana, 
King,  Gerry,  and  Strong.  Thet  of  New  York,  Mess".  Hamil 
ton,  Yates,  and  Lansing.  That  of  South  Carolina,  Messrs.  J. 
Rutledge,  Laurens,  Pinckney,  (General,)  Butler,  and  Charles 
Pinckney,  lately  member  of  Congress.  The  States  which  have 
not  yet  appointed  are  Rhode  Island,  Connecticut,  and  Mary 
land.  The  last  has  taken  measures  which  prove  her  intention 
to  appoint,  and  the  two  former  it  is  not  doubted  will  follow  the 
example  of  their  neighbours.  I  just  learn  from  the  Governor 
of  Virginia  that  Mr.  Henry  has  resigned  his  place  in  the  depu 
tation  from  that  State,  and  that  General  Nelson  is  put  into  it 
by  the  Executive,  who  were  authorised  to  fill  vacancies.  The 
Governor,  Mr.  Wythe,  and  Mr.  Blair,  will  attend,  and  some 
hopes  are  entertained  of  Col.  Mason's  attendance.  General 
Washington  has  prudently  authorised  no  expectations  of  his 
attendance,  but  has  not  either  precluded  himself  absolutely  from 
stepping  into  the  field  if  the  crisis  should  demand  it. 

What  may  be  the  result  of  this  political  experiment  cannot 
be  foreseen.  The  difficulties  which  present  themselves  are,  on 

1787.  LETTERS.  285 

one  side,  almost  sufficient  to  dismay  the  most  sanguine,  whilst 
on  the  other  side  the  most  timid  are  compelled  to  encounter 
them  by  the  mortal  diseases  of  the  existing  Constitution.  These 
diseases  need  not  be  pointed  out  to  you,  who  so  well  understand 
them.  Suffice  it  to  say,  that  they  are  at  present  marked  by 
symptoms  which  are  truly  alarming,  which  have  tainted  the 
faith  of  the  most  orthodox  republicans,  and  which  challenge 
from  the  votaries  of  liberty  every  concession  in  favor  of  stable 
Government  not  infringing  fundamental  principles,  as  the  only 
security  against  an  opposite  extreme  of  our  present  situation. 

I  think  myself  that  it  will  be  expedient,  in  the  first  place,  to 
lay  the  foundation  of  the  new  system  in  such  a  ratification  by 
the  people  themselves  of  the  several  States  as  will  render  it 
clearly  paramount  to  their  Legislative  authorities.  2dly.Fbver 
and  above  the  positive  power  of  regulating  trade  and  sundry 
other  matters  in  which  uniformity  is  proper,  to  arm  the  federal 
head  with  a  negative  in  all  cases  whatsoever  on  the  local  Legis 
latures.  Without  this  defensive  power,  experience  and  reflec 
tion  have  satisfied  me  that,  however  ample  the  federal  powers 
may  be  made,  or  however  clearly  their  boundaries  may  be  de 
lineated  on  paper,  they  will  be  easily  and  continually  baffled  by 
the  Legislative  sovereignties  of  the  States.  The  effects  of  this 
provision  would  be  not  only  to  guard  the  national  rights  and 
interests  against  invasion,  but  also  to  restrain  the  States  from 
thwarting  and  molesting  each  other;  and  even  from  oppressing 
the  minority  within  themselves  by  paper  money  and  other  un 
righteous  measures  which  favor  the  interest  of  the  majority^  In 
order  to  render  the  exercise  of  such  a  negative  prerogative  con 
venient,  an  emanation  of  it  must  be  vested  in  some  set  of  men 
within  the  several  States,  so  far  as  to  enable  them  to  give  a 
temporary  sanction  to  laws  of  immediate  necessity.  3dly.  To 
change  the  principle  of  Representation  in  the  federal  system. 
Whilst  the  execution  of  the  acts  of  Congress  depends  on  the 
several  Legislatures,  the  equality  of  votes  does  not  destroy  the 
inequality  of  importance  and  influence  in  the  States.  But  in 
case  of  such  an  augmentation  of  the  federal  power  as  will  ren 
der  it  efficient  without  the  intervention  of  the  Legislatures,  a 

286  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

vote  in  the  general  Councils  from  Delaware  would  be  of  equal 
value  with  one  from  Massachusetts  or  Virginia.  This  change, 
therefore,  is  just.  I  think,  also,  it  will  be  practicable.  A  ma 
jority  of  the  States  conceive  that  they  will  be  gainers  by  it.  It 
is  recommended  to  the  Eastern  States  by  the  actual  superiority 
of  their  populousness,  and  to  the  Southern  by  their  expected 
superiority;  and  if  a  majority  of  the  larger  States  concur,  the 
fewer  and  smaller  States  must  finally  bend  to  them.  This  point 
being  gained,  many  of  the  objections  now  urged  in  the  leading 
States  against  renunciations  of  power  will  vanish.  4tllly.  To 
organize  the  federal  powers  in  such  a  manner  as  not  to  blend 
together  those  which  ought  to  be  exercised  by  separate  depart 
ments.  The  limited  powers  now  vested  in  Congress  are  fre 
quently  mismanaged  from  the  want  of  such  a  distribution  of 
them.  What  would  be  the  case  under  an  enlargement  not  only 
of  the  powers,  but  the  number  of  the  federal  Representatives? 
These  are  some  of  the  leading  ideas  which  have  occurred  to  me, 
but  which  may  appear  to  others  as  improper  as  they  appear  to 
me  necessary. 


NEW  YORK,  April  1st,  1787. 

HOND  SIR, — The  general  attention  is  now  directed  towards 
the  approaching  Convention.  All  the  States  have  appointed 
deputies  to  it  except  Connecticut,  Maryland,  and  Rhode  Island. 
The  first,  it  is  not  doubted,  will  appoint,  and  the  second  has 
already  resolved  on  the  expediency  of  the  measure.  Rhode 
Island  alone  has  refused  her  concurrence.  A  majority  of  more 
than  twenty  in  the  Legislature  of  that  State  has  refused  to  fol 
low  the  general  example.  Being  conscious  of  the  wickedness 
of  the  measures  they  are  pursuing,  they  are  afraid  of  everything 
that  may  become  a  controul  on  them.  Notwithstanding  this 
prospect  of  a  very  full  and  respectable  meeting,  no  very  san 
guine  expectations  can  well  be  indulged.  The  probable  diver 
sity  of  opinions  and  prejudices,  and  of  supposed  or  real  inter 

1787.  LETTERS.  287 

ests  among  the  States,  renders  the  issue  totally  uncertain.  The 
existing  embarrassments  and  mortal  diseases  of  the  Confederacy 
form  the  only  ground  of  hope  that  a  spirit  of  concession  on  all 
sides  may  be  produced  by  the  general  chaos,  or  at  least  parti 
tions  of  the  Union,  which  offers  itself  as  the  alternative. 


NEW  YORK,  April  10th.  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  been  honored  with  your  letter  of  the  31 
March,  and  find,  with  much  pleasure,  that  your  views  of  the  re 
form  which  ought  to  be  pursued  by  the  Convention  give  a 
sanction  to  those  I  entertained.  Temporising  applications  will 
dishonor  the  councils  which  propose  them,  and  may  foment  the 
internal  malignity  of  the  disease,  at  the  same  time  that  they 
produce  an  ostensible  palliation  of  it.  Radical  attempts,  al 
though  unsuccessful,  will  at  least  justify  the  authors  of  them. 

Having  been  lately  led  to  revolve  the  subject  which  is  to  un 
dergo  the  discussion  of  the  Convention,  and  formed  some  out 
lines  of  a  new  system,  I  take  the  liberty  of  submitting  them 
without  apology  to  your  eye. 

Conceiving  that  an  individual  independence  of  the  States  is 
utterly  irreconcileable  with  their  aggregate  sovereignty,  and 
that  a  consolidation  of  the  whole  into  one  simple  republic  would 
be  as  inexpedient  as  it  is  unattainable,  I  have  sought  for  middle 
ground,  which  may  at  once  support  a  due  supremacy  of  the  na 
tional  authority,  and  not  exclude  the  local  authorities  wherever 
they  can  be  subordinately  useful. 

I  would  propose  as  the  groundwork,  that  a  change  be  made 
in  the  principle  of  representation.  According  to  the  present 
form  of  the  Union,  in  which  the  intervention  of  the  States  is  in 
all  great  cases  necessary  to  effectuate  the  measures  of  Congress, 
an  equality  of  suffrage  does  not  destroy  the  inequality  of  im 
portance  in  the  several  members.  No  one  will  deny  that  Vir 
ginia  and  Massachusetts  have  more  weight  and  influence,  both 
within  and  without  Congress,  than  Delaware  or  Rhode  Island. 

288  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

Under  a  system  which  would  operate  in  many  essential  points 
without  the  intervention  of  the  State  legislatures,  the  case  would 
be  materially  altered.  A  vote  in  the  national  Councils  from 
Delaware  would  then  have  the  same  effect  and  value  as  one 
from  the  largest  State  in  the  Union.  I  am  ready  to  believe  that 
such  a  change  would  not  be  attended  with  much  difficulty.  A 
majority  of  the  States,  and  those  of  greatest  influence,  will  re 
gard  it  as  favorable  to  them.  To  the  northern  States  it  will 
be  recommended  by  their  present  populousness;  to  the  South 
ern,  by  their  expected  advantage  in  this  respect.  The  lesser 
States  must  in  every  event  yield  to  the  predominant  will.  But 
the  consideration  which  particularly  urges  a  change  in  the  rep 
resentation  is,  that  it  will  obviate  the  principal  objections  of 
the  larger  States  to  the  necessary  concessions  of  power. 

I  would  propose  next,  that  in  addition  to  the  present  federal 
powers,  the  national  Government  should  be  armed  with  positive 
and  compleat  authority  in  all  cases  which  require  uniformity; 
such  as  the  regulation  of  trade,  including  the  right  of  taxing 
both  exports  and  imports,  the  fixing  the  terms  and  forms  of 
naturalization,  £c.,  &c. 

Over  and  above  this  positive  power,  a  negative  in  all  cases 
wJiatsoever  on  the  Legislative  acts  of  the  States,  as  heretofore 
exercised  by  the  Kingly  prerogative,  appears  to  me  to  be  ab 
solutely  necessary,  and  to  be  the  least  possible  encroachment  on 
the  State  jurisdictions.  Without  this  defensive  power,  every 
positive  power  that  can  be  given  on  paper  will  be  evaded  or 
defeated.  The  States  will  continue  to  invade  the  National  ju 
risdiction,  to  violate  treaties  and  the  law  of  nations,  and  to 
harass  each  other  with  rival  and  spiteful  measures  dictated  by 
mistaken  views  of  interest.  Another  happy  effect  of  this  pre 
rogative  would  be  its  controul  on  the  internal  vicissitudes  of 
State  policy,  and  the  aggressions  of  interested  majorities  on  the 
rights  of  minorities  and  of  individuals.  The  great  desideratum, 
which  has  not  yet  been  found  for  Republican  Governments, 
seems  to  be  some  disinterested  and  dispassionate  umpire  in  dis 
putes  between  different  passions  and  interests  in  the  State.  The 
majority,  who  alone  have  the  right  of  decision,  have  frequently 

1787.  LETTERS.  289 

an  interest,  real  or  supposed,  in  abusing  it.  In  Monarchies,  the 
Sovereign  is  more  neutral  to  the  interests  and  views  of  differ 
ent  parties;  but,  unfortunately,  he  too  often  forms  interests  of 
his  own,  repugnant  to  those  of  the  whole.  Might  not  the  na 
tional  prerogative  here  suggested  be  found  sufficiently  disin 
terested  for  the  decision  of  local  questions  of  policy,  whilst  it 
would  itself  be  sufficiently  restrained  from  the  pursuit  of  inter 
est?  adverse  to  those  of  the  whole  society  1  There  has  not  been 
any  moment  since  the  peace  at  which  the  representatives  of  the 
Union  would  have  given  an  assent  to  paper  money,  or  any  other 
measure  of  a  kindred  nature. 

The  national  supremacy  ought  also  to  be  extended,  as  I  con 
ceive,  to  the  Judiciary  departments.  If  those  who  are  to  ex 
pound  and  apply  the  laws  are  connected  by  their  interests  and 
their  oaths  with  the  particular  States  wholly,  and  not  with  the 
Union,  the  participation  of  the  Union  in  the  making  of  the 
laws  may  be  possibly  rendered  unavailing.  It  seems  at  least 
necessary  that  the  oaths  of  the  Judges  should  include  a  fidelity 
to  the  general  as  well  as  local  Constitution,  and  that  an  appeal 
should  lie  to  some  National  tribunal  in  all  cases  to  which  for 
eigners  or  inhabitants  of  other  States  may  be  parties.  The  ad 
miralty  jurisdiction  seems  to  fall  entirely  within  the  purview 
of  the  National  Government. 

The  National  supremacy  in  the  Executive  departments  is  lia 
ble  to  some  difficulty,  unless  the  officers  administering  them 
could  be  made  appointable  by  the  Supreme  Government.  The 
Militia  ought  certainly  to  be  placed,  in  some  form  or  other,  under 
the  authority  which  is  entrusted  with  the  general  protection 
and  defence. 

A  Government  composed  of  such  extensive  powers  should  be 
well  organized  and  balanced.  The  legislative  department 
might  be  divided  into  two  branches;  one  of  them  chosen  every 
years,  by  the  people  at  large,  or  by  the  Legislatures;  the 
other  to  consist  of  fewer  members,  to  hold  their  places  for  a 
longer  term,  and  to  go  out  in  such  a  rotation  as  always  to  leave 
in  office  a  large  majority  of  old  members.  Perhaps  the  nega 
tive  on  the  laws  might  be  most  conveniently  exercised  by  this 

VOL.  i  19 

290  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

branch.  As  a  further  check,  a  Council  of  revision,  including 
the  great  ministerial  officers,  might  be  super  added. 

A  National  Executive  must  also  be  provided.  I  have  scarcely 
ventured,  as  yet,  to  form  my  own  opinion  either  of  the  manner 
in  which  it  ought  to  be  constituted,  or  of  the  authorities  with 
which  it  ought  to  be  cloathed. 

An  article  should  be  inserted  expressly  guarantying  the  tran 
quillity  of  the  States  against  internal  as  well  as  external  dangers. 

In  like  manner  the  right  of  coercion  should  be  expressly  de 
clared.  With  the  resources  of  commerce  in  hand,  the  National 
administration  might  always  find  means  of  exerting  it  either  by 
sea  or  land.  But  the  difficulty  and  awkwardness  of  operating 
by  force  on  the  collective  will  of  a  State  render  it  particularly 
desirable  that  the  necessity  of  it  might  be  precluded.  Perhaps 
the  negative  on  the  laws  might  create  such  a  mutuality  of  de 
pendence  between  the  general  and  particular  authorities  as 
to  answer  this  purpose.  Or,  perhaps,  some  defined  objects  of 
taxation  might  be  submitted,  along  with  commerce,  to  the  gen 
eral  authority. 

To  give  a  new  system  its  proper  validity  and  energy,  a  rati 
fication  must  be  obtained  from  the  people,  and  not  merely  from 
the  ordinary  authority  of  the  Legislatures.  This  will  be  the 
more  essential,  as  inroads  on  the  existing  Constitutions  of  the 
States  will  be  unavoidable. 

The  inclosed  address  to  the  States  on  the  subject  of  the  Treaty 
of  peace  has  been  agreed  to  by  Congress,  and  forwarded  to  the 
several  Executives.  We  foresee  the  irritation  which  it  will  ex 
cite  in  many  of  our  Countrymen,  but  could  not  withhold  our 
approbation  of  the  measure.  Both  the  resolutions  and  the  ad 
dress  passed  without  a  dissenting  voice. 

Congress  continue  to  be  thin,  and  of  course  do  little  business 
of  importance.  The  settlement  of  the  public  accounts,  the  dis 
position  of  the  public  lands,  and  arrangements  with  Spain,  arc 
subjects  which  claim  their  particular  attention.  As  a  step 
towards  the  first,  the  Treasury  board  are  charged  with  the  task 
of  reporting  a  plan  by  which  the  final  decision  on  the  claims  of 
the  States  will  be  handed  over  from  Congress  to  a  select  set  of 

1787.  LETTERS.  291 

men,  bound  by  their  oaths,  and  cloathed  with  the  powers  of 
Chancellors.  As  to  the  second  article,  Congress  have  it  them 
selves  under  consideration.  Between  six  and  seven  hundred 
thousand  acres  have  been  surveyed  and  are  ready  for  sale.  The 
mode  of  sale,  however,  will  probably  be  a  source  of  different 
opinions,  as  will  the  mode  of  disposing  of  the  unsurveyed  res 
idue.  The  Eastern  gentlemen  remain  attached  to  the  scheme 
of  townships.  Many  others  are  equally  strenuous  for  indiscrim 
inate  locations.  The  States  which  have  lands  of  their  own  for 
sale  are  suspected  of  not  being  hearty  in  bringing  the  federal 
lands  to  market.  The  business  with  Spain  is  becoming  ex 
tremely  delicate,  and  the  information  from  the  Western  settle 
ments  truly  alarming. 

A  motion  was  made  some  days  ago  for  an  adjournment  of 
Congress  for  a  short  period,  and  an  appointment  of  Philadelphia 
for  their  reassembling.  The  eccentricity  of  this  place,  as  well 
with  regard  to  East  and  West  as  to  North  and  South,  has,  I 
find,  been  for  a  considerable  time  a  thorn  in  the  minds  of  many 
of  the  Southern  members.  Suspicion,  too,  has  charged  some 
important  votes  on  the  weight  thrown  by  the  present  position 
of  Congress  into  the  Eastern  scale,  and  predicts  that  the  East 
ern  members  will  never  concur  in  any  substantial  provision  or 
movement  for  a  proper  permanent  seat  for  the  National  Gov 
ernment,  whilst  they  remain  so  much  gratified  in  its  temporary 
residence.  These  seem  to  have  been  the  operative  motives  with 
those  on  one  side  who  were  not  locally  interested  in  the  re 
moval.  On  the  other  side,  the  motives  are  obvious.  Those  of 
real  weight  were  drawn  from  the  apparent  caprice  with  which 
Congress  might  be  reproached,  and  particularly  from  the  pecu 
liarity  of  the  existing  moment. 

I  own  that  I  think  so  much  regard  due  to  these  considera 
tions,  that  notwithstanding  the  principal  ones  on  the  other  side, 
I  should  have  assented  with  great  reluctance  to  the  motion,  and 
would  even  have  voted  against  it,  if  any  probability  had  existed 
that,  by  waiting  for  a  proper  time,  a  proper  measure  might  not 
be  lost  for  a  very  long  time.  The  plan  which  I  should  have 

292  WORKS    OF    "MADISON.  1787. 

judged  most  eligible  would  have  been  to  fix  on  the  removal 
whenever  a  vote  could  be  obtained,. but  so  as  that  it  should  not 
take  effect  until  the  commencement  of  the  ensuing  federal  year. 
And  if  an  immediate  removal  had  been  resolved  on,  I  had  in 
tended  to  propose  such  a  change  in  the  plan.  No  final  question 
was  taken  in  the  case.  Some  preliminary  questions  showed  that 
six  States  were  in  favor  of  the  motion.  Rhode  Island,  the 
seventh,  was  at  first  on  the  same  side,  and  Mr.  Varnum,  one  of 
the  delegates,  continues  so.  His  colleague  was  overcome  by  the 
solicitations  of  his  Eastern  brethren.  As  neither  Maryland  nor 
South  Carolina  was  on  the  floor,  it  seems  pretty  evident  that 
New  York  has  a  very  precarious  tenure  of  the  advantages  de 
rived  from  the  abode  of  Congress. 

We  understand  that  the  discontents  in  Massachusetts,  which 
lately  produced  an  appeal  to  the  sword,  are  now  producing  a 
trial  of  strength  in  the  field  of  electioneering.  The  Governor 
will  be  displaced.  The  Senate  is  said  to  be  already  of  a  popu 
lar  complexion,  and  it  is  expected  that  the  other  branch  will  be 
still  more  so.  Paper  money,  it  is  surmised,  will  be  the  engine 
to  be  played  off  against  creditors,  both  public  and  private.  As 
the  event  of  the  elections,  however,  is  not  yet  decided,  this  in 
formation  must  be  too  much  blended  with  conjecture  to  be  re 
garded  as  matter  of  certainty. 

I  do  not  learn  that  the  proposed  act  relating  to  Vermont  has 
yet  gone  through  all  the  stages  of  legislation  here;  nor  can  I 
say  whether  it  will  finally  pass  or  not.  In  truth,  it  having  not 
been  a  subject  of  conversation  for  some  time,  I  am"  unable  to 
say  what  has  been  done  or  is  likely  to  be  done  with  it. 


Notes  of  Ancient  and  Modern  Confederacies,  preparatory  to  the 
federal  Convention  of  1787.* 

Lytian  Confederacy. 

In  this  confederacy,  the  number  of  votes  allotted  to  each 
member  was  proportioned  to  its  pecuniary  contributions.  The 
Judges  and  town  magistrates  were  elected  by  the  general 
authority  in  like  proportion. 

See  Montesquieu,  who  prefers  this  mode. 

The  name  of  a  federal  republic  may  be  refused  to  Lycia, 
which  Montesquieu  cites  as  an  example  in  which  the  importance 
of  the  members  determined  the  proportion  of  their  votes  in  the 
general  councils.  The  Grison  League  is  a  juster  example. — 
Code  de  1'Hum.  Confederation. 

Lyciorum  quoque  «vo/^#v  celebrat  Strabo :  de  qua  pauca 
libet  heic  subjungere.  Fuere  eorum  urbes  XXIII,  distincta?  in 
classes  tres  pro  modo  virium.  In  primS,  classe  censebantur 
maxima?  sex,  in  altera  media?,  numero  nobis  incerto,  in  tertia 
reli.quae  omnes,  quarum  fortuna  minima.  Et  singula?  quidem 
urbes  ha?  domi  res  suas  curabant,  magistratus  suos  ordinemque 
civilem  suum  habebant:  universa?  tamen  in  unum  co-euntes  unam 
communem  rempublicam  constituebant,  concilioque  utebantur 
uno,  velut  senatu  majore.  In  eo  de  bello,  de  pace,  de  foederibus, 
denique  de  rerum  Lyciacarum  summa  deliberabant  et  statue- 
bant.  Coibant  vero  in  concilium  hoc  ex  singulis  urbibus  missi 
cum  potentate  ferendi  suffragii:  utebanturque  esi  in  re  jure 
<equissimo.  Nam  quaelibet  urbs  prima?  classis  habebat  jus  suffra- 
giorum  trium,  secunda?  duorum,  tertia?  unius.  Eademque  pro- 
portione  tributa  quoque  conferebant,  et  munia  alia  obibant. 

*  The  reader  will  doubtless  remark  that  this  paper  corresponds  literally 
with  one  printed  in  the  appendix  to  the  9th  volume  of  Washington's  writings, 
except  that  the  names  of  the  authorities  here  cited,  as  well  as  the  passages 
quoted,  are  in  that  entirely  omitted.  Mr.  Sparks  states  that  it  was  found 
among  the  Mount  Vernon  papers  in  the  handwriting  of  General  Washington. 
There  can  be  no  doubt  that  it  was  originally  drawn  by  Mr.  Madison,  as  it  exists 
among  his  autograph  papers  precisely  as  we  have  here  given  it,  with  all  the 
marks  of  his  authorities. 

294  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

Quemadmodiioi  enim  ratio  ipsa  dictat,  et  poscit  aaquitas,  ut 
plura  qui  possident,  et  caateris  ditiores  sunt,  plura  etiam  in 
usus  communes,  et  reipublicas  subsidia  conferant,  sic  quoque 
eadem  a?quitatis  regula  postulat,  ut  in  statuendo  de  re  communi 
iidem  illi  plus  aliis  possint:  praesertim  cum  eorundem  magis 
inter  sit  rempublicam  esse  salvarn  quam  tenuiorum.  Locum 
concilii  hujus  non  liabebant  fixum  et  certum,  sed  ex  omnibus 
urbem  deligebant,  quas  videbatur  pro  tcmporc  commodissima. 
Concilio  coacto  primum  designabant  Lyciarcham  principem 
totius  reipublicae,  dein  magistratus  alios  creabant,  partes  rei 
publicae  administraturos  demum  judicia  publica  constituebant. 
Atque  hasc  omnia  faciebant  servata1  proportione  eadem,  ut  nulla 
omnino  urbs  praeteriretur  munerum  ve  aut  honorum  liorum  non 
fieret  particeps.  Et  hoc  jus  illibatum  mansit  Lyciis  ad  id  usque 
tempus,  quo  Romani  assumpto  Asias  imperio  magna  ex  parte  sui 
arbitrii  id  fecerunt. — Ubbo  Emmius  de  Lyciorum  Republica  in 
Asia.  [Apud  Grovonii  Thes.,  iv,  597.] 
Amphictyonic  Confederacy. 

Instituted  by  Ampliictyon,  son  of  Deucalion,  King  of  Athens, 
1522  years  Ant.  Christ. — Code  de  1'Humanite. 

Seated  first  at  Thermopylas,  then  at  Delphos,  afterwards  at 
these  places  alternately.  It  met  half  yearly,  to  wit,  in  the 
Spring  and  Fall,  besides  extraordinary  occasions. — Id.  In  the 
latter  meetings,  all  such  of  the  Greeks  as  happened  to  be  at 
Delphos  on  a  religious  errand  were  admitted  to  deliberate,  but 
not  to  vote. — Encyclopedic. 

The  number  and  names  of  the  confederated  cities  differently 
reported.  The  union  seems  to  have  consisted  originally  of  the 
Delphians  and  their  neighbors  only,  and  by  degrees  to  have 
comprehended  all  Greece.  10, 11, 12,  are  the  different  numbers 
of  original  members  mentioned  by  different  authors. — Code  de 

Each  city  sent  two  deputies ;  one  to  attend  particularly  to 
Religious  matters,  the  other  to  civil  and  criminal  matters 
affecting  individuals ;  both  to  decide  on  matters  of  a  general 
nature. — Id.  Sometimes  more  than  two  were  sent,  but  they 
had  two  votes  only. — Encyclopedic. 

1787.  NOTES    ON    CONFEDERACIES.  995 

The  Amphictyons  took  an  oath  mutually  to  defend  and  pro 
tect  the  united  cities,  to  inflict  vengeance  on  those  who  should 
sacrilegiously  despoil  the  temple  of  Delphos,  to  punish  the 
violators  of  this  oath,  and  never  to  divert  the  water-courses  of 
any  of  the  Amphictyonic  cities,  either  in  peace  or  in  war. — Code 
de  1'Hum.  ^Eschines  orat.  vs.  Ctesiphontem. 

The  Amphictyonic  Council  was  instituted  by  way  of  defence 
and  terror  against  the  Barbarians. — Dictre  de  Treviux. 
Federal  Authority. 

The  Amphictyons  had  full  power  to  propose  and  resolve 
whatever  they  judged  useful  to  Greece. — Encycopedie  Pol. 

1.  They  judged  in  the  last  resort  all  differences  between  the 
Amphictyonic  cities. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

2.  Mulcted  the  aggressors. — Id. 

3.  Employed  whole  force  of  Greece  against  such  as  refused 
to  execute  its  decrees. — Id.,  and  Plutarch,  Clmon. 

4.  Guarded  the  immense  Riches  of  the  Temple  at  Delphos, 
and  decided  controversies  between  the  inhabitants  and  those 
who  came  to  consult  the  Oracle. — Encyclop. 

5.  Superintended  the  Pythian  games. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

6.  Exercised  right  of  admitting  new  members. — (See  decree 
admitting  Philip,  in  Demosthenes  on  Crown.) 

7.  Appointed  General  of  the  federal  troops,  with  full  powers 
to  carry  their  decrees  into  execution. — Ibid. 

8.  Declared  and  carried  on  war. — Code  de  PHurnan. 

Strabo  says  that  the  Council  of  the  Amphictyons  was  dis 
solved  in  the  time  of  Augustus ;  but  Pausanias,  who  lived  in 
the  time  of  Antoninus  Pius,  says  it  remained  entire  then,  and 
that  the  number  cxf  Amphictyons  was  thirty. — Potter's  Gre. 
Ant.,  vol.  1,  pa.  90. 

The  institution  declined  on  the  admission  of  Philip,  and  in 
the  time  of  the  Roman  Emperors  the  functions  of  the  council 
were  reduced  to  the  administration  and  police  of  the  Temple. 
This  limited  authority  expired  only  with  the  Pagan  Religion.— 
Code  de  V Human. 

Vices  of  the  Constitution. 

296  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17>7. 

It  happened  but  too  often  that  the  Deputies  of  the  strongest 
cities  awed  and  corrupted  those  of  the  weaker,  and  that  Judg 
ment  went  in  favor  of  the  most  powerful  party. — Id.  See,  also, 
Plutarch:  Themistocles. 

Greece  was  the  victim  of  Philip.  If  her  confederation  had 
been  stricter,  and  been  persevered  in,  she  would  never  have 
yielded  to  Macedon,  and  might  have  proved  a  Barrier  to  the 
vast  projects  of  Rome. — Code  de  I'Hum. 

Philip  had  two  votes  in  the  Council. — Rawleigh  Hist,  world, 
lib.  4,  c.  l,Sect.  7. 

The  execution  of  the  Amphictyonic  powers  was  very  different 
from  the  Theory. — Id.  It  did  not  restrain  the  parties  from 
warring  against  each  other.  Athens  and  Sparta  were  members 
during  their  conflicts.  Quer.:  Whether  Thucydides  or  Xeno- 
plion,  in  their  Histories,  ever  allude  to  the  Amphictyonic  au 
thority,  which  ought  to  have  kept  the  peace? — See  Gillies'  Hist. 
Greece,  particularly  vol.  II,  p.  345. 
Achcean  Confederacy. 

In  124  Olympd  the  Patrians  and  Dymasans  joined  first  in  this 
league.— Polyb.,  lib.  2.  c.  3. 

This  League  consisted  at  first  of  three  small  cities.  Aratus 
added  Sicyon,  and  drew  in  many  other  cities  of  Achaia  and 
Peloponnesus.  Of  these  he  formed  a  Republic  of  a  peculiar 
sort. — Code  de  PHuman. 

It  consisted  of  twelve  cities,  and  was  produced  by  the  neces 
sity  of  such  a  defence  against  the  Etolians. — Encyclo.  Pol.  (E., 
and  Polyb.,  lib.  2. 

The  members  enjoyed  a  perfect  equality,  each  of  them  sending 
the  number  of  deputies  to  the  Senate. — Id. 

The  Senate  assembled  in  the  Spring  and  Fall,  and  was  also 
convened  on  extraordinary  occasions  by  two  Praetors,  charged 
with  the  administration  during  the  recess,  but  who  could  exe 
cute  nothing  without  the  consent  of  the  Inspectors. — Id. 
Foederal  Authority. 

1.  The  Senate,  composed  of  the  deputies,  made  war  and 
peace. — D'Albon  I,  page  270. 

2.  Appointed  a  Captain  General  annually. — Co.  d'Hum. 

17S7.  NOTES    ON    CONFEDERACIES.  297 

3.  Transferred  the  power  of  deciding  to  ten  citizens  taken 
from  the  deputies,  the  rest  retaining  a  right  of  consultation 
only. — Id. 

4.  Sent  and  received  Ambassadors. — D'Albon.     Ibid. 

5.  Appointed  a  prime  Minister. — D'Albon.     Ibid. 

6.  Contracted  foreign  alliances. — Code  de  THum. 

7.  Confederated  cities  in  a  manner  forced  to  receive  the  same 
laws  and  customs,  weights  and  measures,  (Id.,  and  Polyb.,  lib. 
2,  cap.  3,)  yet  considered  as  having  each  their  independent  po 
lice  and  Magistrates. — Encyclop.  Pol.  QEcon. 

8.  Penes  hoc  concilium  erat  summum  rerum  arbitrium,  ex  cu- 
jus  decreto  bella  suscipiebantur,  et  finiebantur,  pax  conveniebat, 
foedera  feriebantur  et  solvebantur,  leges  fiebant  ratce  aut  irritce. 
Hujus  etiarn  erat,  Magistratus  toti  Societati  communes  eligere, 
legationes  decernere,  &c.,  &c.     *     *     Regebant  concilium  pras- 
tor  pra3cipue,  si  prsesens  esset,  et  magistratus  alii,  quos  Achaai 
drj'uouofouz  nuncupabant.     Hi  numero  X  erant,  suffrages  legit- 
imi  concilii,  quod  verno  tempore  habebatur,  electi  ex  universa 
societate  prudentia  prascipui,  quorum  concilio  potissimum  pras- 
tor.  ex  lege  utebatur.     Horum  potestas  et  dignitas  maxima  erat 
post  ipsum  praetorem,  quos  iclciro  Livius,  Polybium  sequens, 
summum  Achaeorum  magistratum  appellat.      *      *      Cum  his 
igitur  de  negociis  gravioribus  in  concilio  agitandis  praetor  pras- 
consultabat,  nee  de  iis.  nisi  in  id  pars  major  consentiret,  licebat 
ad  consilium  referre. — Ubbo  Emmius.     [Descr.  Reip.  Achseo- 
rum,  Ap.  Gron.  Thes.,  iv,  573.] 

Ista  vero  imprimis  memorabilis  lex  est,  vinculum  societatis 
Achaicae  maxime  stringens,  et  concordiam  muniens,  qua  inter- 
dictum  fuit,  ne  cui  civitati  Societatis  hujus  participi  fas  esset, 
seorsim  ad  exteros  ultos  mittere  legates,  non  ad  Romanes,  non 
ad  alios.  Et  hasc  expressim  inserta  fuit  pactis  conventis  Achaeo 
rum  cum  populo  Romano.  *  *  *  *  Omnium  autem  laucla- 
tissima  lex  apud  eos  viguit  *  *  qua  vetiturn,  ne  quis  om- 
nino,  sive  privataa  conditionis,  seu  magistratum  gerens,  ullam  ob 
causam,  quascunque  etiam  sit,  dona  a  Rege  aliquo  caperet. — Id. 
[Ap.  Gron.  Thes.,  iv,  575.] 

ogg  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

Vices  of  the  Constitution. 

The  defect  of  subjection  in  the  members  to  the  general  au 
thority  ruined  the  whole  Body.  The  Romans  seduced  the  mem 
bers  from  the  League  by  representing  that  it  violated  their 
sovereignty. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

After  the  death  of  Alexander,  this  Union  was  dissolved  by 
various  dissentions,  raised  chiefly  thro'  the  acts  of  the  Kings  of 
Macedon.  Every  city  was  now  engaged  in  a  separate  interest, 
and  no  longer  acted  in  concert. — Polyb.,  lib.  2,  cap  3.  After, 
in  124  Olympd,  they  saw  their  error,  and  began  to  think  of  re 
turning  to  their  former  State.  This  was  the  time  when  Pyrrhus 
invaded  Italy. — Ibid. 

Helvetic  Confederacy. 

Commenced  in  1308  by  the  temporary  and  in  1315  by  the 
perpetual  Union  of  Uri,  Schweitz,  and  Underwald,  for  the  de 
fence  of  their  liberties  against  the  invasions  of  the  House  of 
Austria.  In  1315  the  Confederacy  included  8  Cantons.  In 
1513  the  number  of  thirteen  was  compleated  by  the  accession 
of  Appenzel. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

The  General  Diet  representing  the  United  Cantons  is  com 
posed  of  two  deputies  from  each.  Some  of  their  allies,  as  the 
Abbe  Sl.  Gall,  &c.,  are  allowed  by  long  usage  to  attend  by  their 
deputies. — Id. 

All  general  Diets  are  held  at  such  time  and  place  as  Zurich, 
which  is  first  in  rank  and  the  depository  of  the  common  archives, 
shall  name  in  a  circular  summons.  But  the  occasion  of  annual 
conferences  for  the  administration  of  their  dependent  bailagcs 
has  fixed  the  same  time,  to  wit,  the  feast  of  St.  John,  for  the 
General  Diet,  and  the  city  of  Frauenfeld,  in  Turgovia.  is  now 
the  place  of  meeting.  Formerly  it  was  the  city  of  Baden. — Id. 

The  Diet  is  opened  by  a  complimentary  address  of  the  first 
deputy  of  each  cantdn  by  turns,  called  the  Helvetic  salutation. 
It  consists  in  a  congratulatory  review  of  circumstances  and 
events  favorable  to  their  common  interest,  and  exhortations  to 
Union  and  patriotism. 

The  deputies  of  the  first  canton,  Zurich,  propose  the  matters 

1787.  NOTES    ON    CONFEDERACIES.  299 

to  be  discussed.  Questions  are  decided  by  plurality  of  voices. 
In  case  of  division,  the  Bailiff  of  Turgovia  has  the  casting  one. 
The  session  of  the  Diet  continues  about  a  month. — Id. 

After  the  objects  of  universal  concern  are  despatched,  such 
of  the  deputies  whose  constituents  have  no  share  in  the  depend 
ent  bailages  withdraw,  and  the  Diet  then  becomes  a  represent 
ation  of  the  cantons  to  whom  these  bailages  belong,  and  pro 
ceeds  to  the  consideration  of  the  business  relating  thereto. — Id. 

Extraordinary  Diets  for  incidental  business,  or  giving  au 
dience  $)  foreign  ministers,  may  be  called  at  any  time  by  any 
one  of  the  cantons,  or  by  any  foreign  minister  who  will  defray 
the  expence  of  meeting.  Seldom  a  year  without  an  extraordi 
nary  Diet. — Stanyan's  Switzerland. 

There  is  an  annual  Diet  of  12  cantons,  by  one  deputy  from 
each,  for  the  affairs  of  the  ultra-montane  bailages. — Code  de 

Particular  cantons  also  have  their  diets  for  their  particular 
affairs,  the  time  and  place  for  whose  meeting  are  settled  by 
their  particular  treaties. 

All  public  affairs  are  now  treated,  not  in  General  Diet,  but 
in  the  particular  assemblies  of  protestant  and  catholic  can 
tons. — D'Albon. 

Federal  Authority. 

The  title  of  Republican  and  Sovereign  State  improperly 
given  to  this  Confederacy,  which  has  no  concentered  authority, 
the  Diets  being  only  a  Congress  of  Delegates  from  some  or  all 
of  the  cantons,  and  having  no  fixt  objects  that  are  national. — 
Dictionnaire  de  Suisse. 

The  13  cantons  do  not  make  one  Commonwealth  like  the 
United  Provinces,  but  are  so  many  independent  Common 
wealths  in  strict  alliance.  There  is  not  so  much  as  any  com 
mon  instrument  by  which  they  are  all  reciprocally  bound 
together.  The  3  primitive  cantons  alone  being  each  directly 
allied  to  the  other  twelve.  The  others,  in  many  instances,  are 
connected  indirectly*  only,  as  allies  of  allies.  In  this  mode, 

*  By  the  Convention  of  Stantz,  any  member  attacked  has  a  direct  claim  on  the 
succour  of  the  whole  confederacy. — Coxe,  p.  343. 

300  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

any  one  canton  may  draw  in  all  the  others  to  make  a  common 
cause  in  its  defence. — Stanyan. 

The  confederacy  has  no  common  Treasury,  no  common  troops, 
no  common  coin,  no  common  Judicatory,  nor  any  other  common 
mark  of  sovereignty. — Id. 

The  General  Diet  cannot  terminate  any  interesting  affair 
without  special  instructions  and  powers,  and  the  deputies  ac 
cordingly  take  most  matters  proposed  ad  referendum. — Code 

The  Cantons  individually  exercise  the  right  of  sencfing  and 
receiving  ambassadors,  making  treaties,  coining  money,  pro 
scribing  the  money  of  one  another,  prohibiting  the  importation 
and  exportation  of  merchandise,  furnishing  troops  to  foreign 
States,  and  doing  everything  else  which  does  not  wound  the 
liberty  of  any  other  canton.  Excepting  a  few  cases  specified 
in  the  alliances,  and  which  directly  concern  the  object  of  the 
league,  no  canton  is  subject  to  the  Resolutions  of  the  plural 
ity. — Id. 

The  only  establishment  truly  national  is  that  of  a  federal 
army,  as  regulated  in  1668,  and  which  is  no  more  than  an  even 
tual  plan  of  defence  adopted  among  so  many  allied  States. — Id. 

1.  The  league  consists  in  a  perpetual  defensive  engagement 
against  external  attacks  and  internal  troubles.     It  may  be  re 
garded  as  an  axiom  in  the  public  law  of  the  confederacy,  that 
the  federal  engagements  are  precedent  to  all  other  political 
engagements  of  the  cantons. — Id. 

2.  Another  axiom  is,  that  there  are  no  particular  or  common 
possessions  of  the  cantons  for  the  defence  of  which  the  others 
are  not  bound  as  Guarantees,  or  auxiliaries  of  Guarantees. — Id. 

3.  All  disputes  arc  to  be  submitted  to  neutral  cantons,  who 
may  employ  force,  if  necessary,  in  execution  of  their  decrees.— 
Id.     Each  party  to  choose  4  Judges,  who  may,  in  case  of  dis 
agreement,  choose  umpire,  and  these,  under  oath  of  impartial 
ity,  to  pronounce  definitive  sentence,  which  all  cantons  are  to 
enforce. — D'Albon  and  Stanyan. 

4.  No  canton  ought  to  form  new  alliances  without  the  con 
sent  of  the  others ;  [this  was  stipulated  in  consequence  of  an 

1787.  NOTES    ON    CONFEDERACIES.  3Q1 

improper  alliance  in  1442,  by  Zurich,  with  the  House  of  Aus 
tria.]— Id. 

5.  It  is  an  essential  object  of  the  league  to  preserve  interior 
tranquillity  by  the  reciprocal  protection  of  the  form  of  Govern 
ment  established  in  each  Canton,  so  that  each  is  armed  with  the 
force  of  the  whole  corps  for  the  suppression  of  rebellions  and 
revolts,  and  the  history  of  Switzerland  affords  frequent  in 
stances  of  mutual  succors  for  these  purposes. — Dictre  de  Suisse. 

6.  The  Cantons  are  bound  not  to  give  shelter  to  fugitives 
from  Justice,  in  consequence  of  which  each  Canton  can  at  this 
day  banish  malefactors  from  all  the  territories  of  the  League. — 

7.  Though  each  Canton  may  prohibit  the  exportation  and 
importation  of  merchandise,  it  must  allow  it  to  pass  through 
from  one  neighboring  Canton  to  another  without  any  augmen 
tation  of  the  tolls. — Code  de  THum. 

S.  In  claiming  succours  against  foreign  powers,  the  S  Elder 
Cantons  have  a  more  extensive  right  than  the  5  junior  ones. 
The  former  may  demand  them  of  one  another  without  explain 
ing  the  motives  of  the  quarrel.  The  latter  cannot  intermeddle 
but  as  mediators  or  auxiliaries;  nor  can  they  commence  hostil 
ities  without  the  sanction  of  the  Confederates;  and  if  cited  by 
their  adversaries,  cannot  refuse  to  accept  the  other  Cantons  for 
arbiters  or  Judges. — Dictre  de  Suisse. 

9.  In  general,  each  Canton  is  to  pay  its  own  forces,  without 
compensation  from  the  whole,  or  the  succoured  party.     But  in 
case  a  siege  is  to  be  formed  for  the  benefit  of  a  particular  Can 
ton,  this  is  to  defray  the  expence  of  it,  and  if  for  the  common 
benefit,  each  is  to  pay  its  just  proportion. — D'Albon.     On  no 
pretext  is  a  Canton  to  be  forced  to  march  its  troops  out  of  the 
limits  of  Switzerland. — Stanyan. 

10.  Foreign  Ministers  from  different  Nations  reside  in  differ 
ent  Cantons.     Such  of  them  as  have  letters  of  credence  for  the 
whole  Confederacy  address  them  to  Zurich,  the  chief  Canton. 
The  Ambassador  of  France,  who  has  most  to  do  with  the  Con 
federacy,  is  complimented  at  his  quarters  by  deputies  from  the 
whole  body. 

802  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

Vices  of  the  Constitution. 

1.  Disparity  in  size  of  Cantons. 

2.  Different  principles  of  Government  in  different  Cantons. 

3.  Intolerance  in  Religion. 

4.  Weakness  of  the  Union.     The  common  bailages,  which 
served  as  a  cement,  sometimes  become  occasions  of  quarrels. — 
Dictre  de  Suisse. 

In  a  treaty  in  1683  with  Victor  Amadceus,  of  Savoy,  it  is  stip 
ulated  that  he  shall  interpose  as  mediator  in  disputes  between 
the  Cantons,  and,  if  necessary,  use  force  against  the  party  re 
fusing  to  submit  to  the  sentence. — Diet™  de  Suisse.  A  striking 
proof  of  the  want  of  authority  in  the  whole  over  its  parts. 
Belgic  Confederacy. 

Established  in  1679,  by  the  Treaty  called  the  Union  of 
Utrecht. — Code  de  THumanite. 

The  provinces  came  into  this  Union  slowly.  Guelderland, 
the  smallest  of  them,  made  many  difficulties.  Even  some  of  the 
Cities  and  Towns  pretended  to  annex  conditions  to  their  ac 
ceding. — Id. 

When  the  Union  was  originally  established,  a  committee,  com 
posed  of  deputies  from  each  province,  was  appointed  to  regulate 
affairs,  and  to  convoke  the  provinces  according  to  article  XIX 
of  the  Treaty.  Out  of  this  Committee  grew  the  States  Gen 
eral,  (Id.,)  who,  strictly  speaking,  are  only  the  Representatives 
of  the  States  General,  who  amount  to  800  members. — Temple, 
p.  112. 

The  number  of  Deputies  to  the  States  General  from  each  prov 
ince  not  limited,  but  have  only  a  single  voice.  They  amount 
commonly,  altogether,  to  40  or  50.  They  hold  their  seats,  some 
for  life,  some  for  6,  3,  and  1  years,  and  those  of  Groningen  and 
Overyssel  during  pleasure.  They  are  paid,  but  very  moder 
ately,  by  their  respective  constituents,  and  are  amenable  to  their 
Tribunals  only. — Code  de  1'Hum.  No  military  man  is  depu- 
table  to  the  States  General. — Id. 

Ambassadors  of  Republic  have  session  and  deliberation,  but 
no  suffrage  in  States  Gen1. — Id.  The  grand  pensioner  of  Hol 
land,  as  ordinary  deputy  from  Holland,  attends  always  in  the 

1787.  NOTES    ON    CONFEDERACIES.  3Q3 

States  General,  and  makes  the  propositions  of  that  province  to 
States  General. — Id. 

They  sit  constantly  at  the  Hague  since  1593,  and  every  day 
in  +he  week  except  Saturday  and  Sunday.  The  States  of  Hol 
land,  in  granting  this  residence,  reserve,  by  way  of  protestation, 
the  rights,  the  honors,  and  prerogatives,  belonging  to  them  as 
sovereigns  of  the  province,  yielding  the  States  General  only  a 
rank  in  certain  public  ceremonies. — Id. 

The  eldest  deputy  from  each  province  presides  for  a  week  by 
turns.  The  President  receives  letters,  £c.,  from  the  Ministers 
of  the  Republic  at  foreign  Courts,  and  of  foreign  Ministers  re 
siding  at  the  Hague,  as  well  as  of  all  petitions  presented  to  the 
Assembly;  all  which  he  causes  to  be  read  by  the  Secretary. — Id. 

The  Secretary,  besides  correcting  and  recording  the  Resolu 
tions,  prepares  and  despatches  instructions  to  Ministers  abroad, 
and  letters  to  foreign  powers.  He  assists,  also,  at  conferences 
held  with  foreign  Ministers,  and  there  gives  his  voice.  He  has  a 
deputy  when  there  is  not  a  second  Secretary.  The  agent  of  the 
States  General  is  charged  with  the  Archives,  and  is  also  em 
ployed  on  occasions  of  receiving  foreign  Ministers  or  sending 
Messages  to  them. — Id. 
Federal  Authority. 

The  avowed  objects  of  the  Treaty  of  Union:  1.  To  fortify 
the  Union.  2.  To  repel  the  common  enemy. — Id. 

The  Union  is  to  be  perpetual  in  the  same  manner  as  if  the 
Confederates  formed  one  province  only,  without  prejudice,  how 
ever,  to  the  privileges  and  rights  of  each  province  and  City. — 

Differences  between  provinces  and  between  cities  are  to  be 
settled  by  the  ordinary  Judges,  by  arbitration,  by  amicable 
agreement,  without  the  interference  of  other  provinces,  other 
wise  than  by  way  of  accommodation.  The  Stadtholder  is  to 
decide  such  differences  in  the  last  resort. — Id. 

No  change  to  be  made  in  the  articles  of  Union  without  unan 
imous  consent  of  the  parties,  and  everything  done  contrary  to 
them  to  be  null  and  void. — Id. 
States  General. 

304  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

1.  Execute,  without  consulting  their  constituents,  treaties  and 
alliances  already  formed. — Id. 

2.  Take  oaths  from  Generals  and  Governors,  and  appoint 
Field  Deputies. 

3.  The  collection  of  duties  on  imports  and  exports,  and  the 
expedition  of  safe  conducts,  are  in  their  name  and  by  their  offi 
cers. — Id. 

4.  They  superintend  and  examine  accounts  of  the  E.  India 
Company. — Id. 

5.  Inspect  the  Mint,  appoint  les  Maitres  de  la  Monnoye,  fix 
la  faille  and  la  valeur  of  the  coin,  having  always  regard  to  the 
regular  rights  of  the  provinces  within  their  own  Territories.— 

6.  Appoint  a  Treasurer  General  and  Receiver  General  of  the 
Quotas  furnished  by  the  provinces. — Id. 

7.  Elect,  out  of  a  double  nomination,  the  fiscal  and  other 
officers  within  the  departments  of  the  admiralties,  except  that 
the  High  officers  of  the  fleet  are  appointed  by  the  Admiral 
General,  to  whom  the  maritime  provinces   have   ceded   this 
right. — Id.     The  Navy,  supported  by  duties  on  foreign  trade, 
appropriated  thereto  by  the  maritime  provinces,  for  the  benefit 
of  the  whole  Republic. — Id. 

8.  They  govern  as  sovereigns  the  dependent  territories,  ac 
cording  to  the  several  capitulations. — Id. 

9.  They  form  Committees  of  their  own  body,  of  a  member 
from  each  deputation,  for  foreign  affairs,  finances,  marine,  and 
other  matters.     At  all  these  conferences  the  Grand  Pensioner 
of  Holland  and  the  secretary  of  the  States  General  attend,  and 
have  a  deciding  voice. — Id. 

10.  Appoint  and  receive  Ambassadors,  negociate  with  foreign 
powers,  deliberate  on  war,  peace,  alliances,  the  raising  forces, 
care  of  fortifications,  military  affairs  to  a  certain  degree,  the 
equipment  of  fleets,  building  of  ships,  directions  concerning 
money. — Id.     But  they  can  neither  make  peace,  nor  war,  nor 
truces,  nor  treaties,  nor  raise  troops,  nor  impose  taxes,  nor  do 
other  acts  requiring  unanimity,  without  consulting  and  obtain 
ing  the  sanction  of  the  Provinces. — Id.     Coining  money  also 

1787.  NOTES    OX    CONFEDERACIES.  305 

requires  unanimity  and  express  sanction  of  provinces. — Temple. 
Repealing  an  old  law  on  same  footing. — Burrish.  Batav.  illus- 
trata.  In  points  not  enumerated  in  this  article,  plurality  of 
voices  decides. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

11.  Composition  and  publication  of  edicts  and  proclamations 
relative  both  to  the  objects  expressed  in  the  articles  of  union  and 
to  the  measures  taken  for  the  common  good,  are  in  the  name 
of  the  States ;  and  altho'  they  are  addressed  to  the  States  of  the 
Provinces,  who  announce  them  with  their  sanction,  still  it  is  in 
the  name  of  the  States  General  that  obedience  is  required  of  all 
the  inhabitants  of  the  Provinces. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

The  Provinces  have  reserved  to  themselves — 

1.  Their  sovereignty  within  their  own  limits  in  general.— 
Code  de  1'Hum. 

2.  The  right  of  coining  money,  as  essential  to  sovereignty; 
but  agreed,  at  the  same  time,  that  the  money  which  should  be 
current  throughout  the  Republic  should  have  the  same  intrinsic 
value.    To  give  effect  to  which  regulation  a  mint  is  established 
at  the  Hague,  under  a  chamber  which  has  the  inspection  of  all 
money  struck,  either  in  name  of  States  General  or  particular 
provinces,  as  also  of  foreign  coin. — Id.     Coining  money  not  in 
provinces  or  cities,  but  in  the  generality  of  union,  by  common 
agreement. — Temple. 

3.  Every  province  raises  what  money  and  by  what  means  it 
pleases,  and  sends  its  quota  to  Receiver  General. — Temple. 

The  quotas  were  not  settled  without  great  difficulty. — Id. 

4.  The  naming  to  Governments  of  Towns  within  themselves; 
keeping  keys,  and  giving  word  to  Magistrates;  a  power  over 
troops  in  all  things  not  military;  conferring  Col8,  commissions 
and  inferior  posts  in  such  Regiments  as  are  paid  by  the  prov 
inces;  respectively  taking  oath  of  fidelity;  concerning  a  revo 
cation  of  all  which  the  States  General  are  not  permitted  to 
deliberate. — Id. 

The  provinces  are  restricted — 

1.  From  entering  into  any  foreign  treaties  without  consent 
of  the  rest. — Code  de  THum. 
VOL.  i.  20 

306  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

2.  From  establishing  imposts  prejudicial  to  others  without 
general  consent. — Id. 

3.  From  charging  their  neighbors  with  higher  duties  than 
their  own  subjects. — Id. 

Council  of  State  composed  of  deputies  from  the  provinces, 
in  different  proportions.  3  of  them  are  for  life;  the  rest  gener 
ally  for  3  years ;  they  vote  per  capita. — Temple. 

They  arc  subordinate  to  the  States  General,  who  frequently, 
however,  consult  with  them.  In  matters  of  war  which  require 
secrecy  they  act  of  themselves.  Military  and  fiscal  matters 
are  the  objects  of  their  administration. 

They  execute  the  Resolutions  of  the  States  General,  propose 
requisitions  of  men  and  money,  and  superintend  the  fortifica 
tions,  <fec.,  and  the  affairs,  revenues,  and  Governments,  of  the 
conquered  possessions. — Temple. 

Chamber  of  Accounts  was  erected  for  the  ease  of  the  Council 
of  State.  It  is  subordinate  to  the  States  General;  is  composed 
of  two  deputies  from  each  province,  who  are  changed  trien- 
nially.  They  examine  and  state  all  accounts  of  the  several 
Receivers;  controul  and  register  orders  of  Council  of  State 
disposing  of  the  finances. — Id. 

College  of  Admiralty,  established  by  the  States  General, 
1597,  is  subdivided  into  five,  of  which  three  are  in  Holland, 
one  in  Zealand,  one  in  Friezland,  each  composed  of  seven  depu 
ties,  four  appointed  by  the  province  where  the  admiralty 
resides,  and  three  by  the  other  provinces.  The  vice  admiral 
presides  in  all  of  them  when  he  is  present. — Temple. 

They  take  final  cognizance  of  all  crimes  and  prizes  at  sea; 

of  all  frauds  in  customs;  provide 

quota  of  fleets  resolved  on  by  States  General;  appoint  Captains 
and  superior  officers  of  each  squadron;  take  final  cognizance, 
also,  of  civil  matters  within  600  florins,  an  appeal  lying  to 
States  General  for  matters  beyond  that  sum. — Code  de  1'Hum. 
and  Temple. 

The  authority  of  States  General  in  Admiralty  Department 
is  much  limited  by  the  influence  and  privileges  of  maritime  prov- 

17S7.  NOTES    ON    CONFEDERACIES.  397 

inces,  and  the  jurisdiction  herein  is  full  of  confusion  and  contra 
diction. — Code  de  1'Humanite. 

Stadtholder,  who  is  now  hereditary,  in  his  political  capacity 
is  authorized — 

1.  To  settle  differences  between  provinces,  provisionally,  till 
other  methods  can  be  agreed  on,  which  having  never  been,  this 
prerogative  may  be  deemed  a  permanent  one. — Code  de  FHum. 

2.  Assists  at  deliberations  of  States  General  and  their  par 
ticular  conferences;  recommends  and  influences  appointment  of 
Ambassadors. — Id. 

3.  Has  seat  and  suffrage  in  Council  of  State. — Id. 

4.  Presiding  in  the  provincial  Courts  of  Justice,  where  his 
name  is  prefixed  to  all  public  acts. — Id. 

5.  Supreme  Creator  of  most  of  the  Universities. — Id. 

6.  As  Stadtholder  of  the  provinces,  has  considerable  rights 
partaking  of  the  sovereignty;  as  appointing  town  magistrates, 
on  presentation  made  to  him  of  a  certain  number.     Executing 
provincial  decrees,  <fcc. — Id.  and  Mably;  Etud.  de  1'hist. 

7.  Gives  audiences  to  Ambassadors,  and  may  have  agents 
with  their  Sovereigns  for  his  private  affairs. — Mab.  Ibid. 

8.  Exercises  power  of  pardon. — Temple. 

In  his  Military  capacity  as  Captain  General— 

1.  Commands  forces;   directs  marches;   provides  for  garri 
sons;   and,  in  general,   regulates   military  affairs. — Code   de 

2.  Disposes  of  all  appointments,  from  Ensigns  to  Col8.     The 
Council  of  State  having  surrendered  to  him  the  appointments 
within  their  disposal,  (Id.,)  and  the  States  General  appoint  the 
higher  grades  on  his  recommendation. — Id. 

3.  Disposes  of  the  Governments,  &c.,  of  the  fortified  towns, 
tho7  the  commissions  issue  from  the  States  General. — Id. 

In  his  Marine  capacity  as  Admiral  General — 

1.  Superintends  and  directs  everything   relative   to   naval 
forces  and  other  affairs  within  Admiralty. — Id. 

2.  Presides  in  the  admiralties  in  person  or  by  proxy. — Id. 

3.  Appoints  Lieufc.  Admirals  and  officers  under  them. — Id. 

4.  Establishes  Councils  of  war,  whose  sentences  are  in  the 

308  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

name  of  the  States  General  and  his  Highness,  and  are  not  exe 
cuted  till  he  approves. — Id. 

The  Stadtholder  has  a  general  and  secret  influence  on  the 
great  machine  which  cannot  be  defined. — Id. 

His  revenue  from  appointments  amounts  to  300,000  florins, 
to  which  is  to  be  added  his  extensive  patrimonies. — Id. 

The  standing  army  of  the  Republic,  40,000  men. 
Vices  of  the  Constitution. 

The  Union  of  Utrecht  imports  an  authority  in  the  States  Gen 
eral  seemingly  sufficient  to  secure  harmony;  but  the  jealousy  in 
each  province  of  its  sovereignty  renders  the  practice  very  dif 
ferent  from  the  Theory. — Code  de  THum. 

It  is  clear  that  the  delay  occasioned  by  recurring  to  seven 
independent  provinces,  including  about  52  voting  Cities,  &c.,  is 
a  vice  in  the  Belgic  Republic  which  exposes  it  to  the  most  fatal 
inconveniences.  Accordingly,  the  fathers  of  their  country  have 
endeavored  to  remedy  it,  in  the  extraordinary  assemblies  of  the 
States  General  in  1584,  in  1651,  1716,  1717,  but,  unhappily, 
without  effect.  This  vice  is,  notwithstanding,  deplorable. — Id. 
Among  other  evils,  it  gives  foreign  Ministers  the  means  of  ar 
resting  the  most  important  deliberations  by  gaining  a  single 
Province  or  City.  This  was  done  by  France  in  1726,  when  the 
Treaty  of  Hanover  was  delayed  a  whole  year.  In  1688  the 
States  concluded  a  Treaty  of  themselves,  but  at  the  risk  of  their 
heads. — Id.  It  is  the  practice,  also,  in  matters  of  contribution 
or  subsidy,  to  pass  over  this  article  of  the  Union;  for  where 
delay  would  be  dangerous,  the  consenting  provinces  furnish 
their  quotas  without  waiting  for  the  others;  but  by  such  means 
the  Union  is  weakened,  and,  if  often  repeated,  must  be  dis 
solved. — Id. 

Foreign  Ministers  elude  matters  taken  ad  referendum,  by  tam 
pering  with  the  Provinces  and  Cities. — Temple,  p.  116. 

Treaty  of  Union  obliges  each  Province  to  levy  certain  con 
tributions.  But  this  article  never  could  and  probably  never 
will  be  executed,  because  the  inland  provinces,  who  have  little 
commerce,  cannot  pay  an  equal  Quota. — Burrish.  Bat.  illustrat. 

17b7.  NOTES    ON    CONFEDERACIES.  309 

Deputations  from  agreeing  to  disagreeing  Provinces  fre 
quent. — Tern. 

It  is  certain  that  so  many  independent  corps  and  interests 
could  not  be  kept  together  without  such  a  center  of  union  as 
the  Stadtholdership,  as  has  been  allowed  and  repeated  in  so 
many  solemn  acts. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

In  the  intermission  of  the  Stadtholdership,  Holland,  by  her 
riches  and  authority,  which  drew  the  others  into  a  sort  of  de 
pendence,  supplied  the  place. — Temple. 

With  such  a  Government  the  Union  never  could  have  sub 
sisted,  if,  in  effect,  the  provinces  had  not  within  themselves  a 
spring  capable  of  quickening  their  tardiness  and  impelling  them 
to  the  same  way  of  thinking.  This  spring  is  the  Stadtholder. 
His  prerogatives  are  immense — 1,  &c.,  <fec.  A  strange  effect  of 
human  contradictions.  Men  too  jealous  to  confide  their  liberty 
to  their  representatives,  who  are  their  equals,  abandoned  it  to 
a  Prince,  who  might  the  more  easily  abuse  it,  as  the  affairs  of 
the  Republic  were  important,  and  had  not  then  fixed  them 
selves.—  Mably  Etude  D'Hist.,  205—6. 

Grotius  has  said  that  the  hatred  of  his  countrymen  against 
the  House  of  Austria  kept  them  from  being  destroyed  by  the 
vices  of  their  Constitution. — Ibid. 

The  difficulty  of  procuring  unanimity  has  produced  a  breach 
of  fundamentals  in  several  instances.  Treaty  of  Westphalia  was 
concluded  without  consent  of  Zealand,  &c. — D'Albon  and  Tem 
ple.  These  tend  to  alter  the  constitution. — D'Albon. 

It  appears  by  several  articles  of  the  Union  that  the  confede 
rates  had  formed  the  design  of  establishing  a  General  tax,  [Im- 
pot,]  to  be  administered  by  the  States  Gen1.  But  this  design,  so 
proper  for  bracing  this  happy  Union,  has  not  been  executed. — 
Code  de  THum. 

Germanic  Confederacy    took  its  present  form  in  the  year 

_.__Code  de  1'Hum. 

The  Diet  is  to  be  convoked  by  the  Emperor,  or,  on  his  failure, 
by  the  Archbishop  of  Mentz,  with  consent  of  Electors,  once  in 
ten  years  at  least  from  the  last  adjournment,  and  six  months 

310  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

before  the  time  of  meeting.  Ratisbon  is  the  seat  of  the  Diet 
since  1663. 

The  members  amount  to  285,  and  compose  three  colleges,  to 
wit:  that  of  the  Electors,  of  Princes,  of  Imperial  Cities.  The 
voices  amount  to  159,  of  which  153  are  individual  and  6  col 
lective.  The  latter  are  particular  to  the  College  of  Princes,  and 
are  formed  out  of  39  prelates,  <fec.,  and  93  Counts,  <fec.  The 
individual  voices  are  common  to  the  three  Colleges,  and  are 
given  by  9  Electors;  94  Princes,  33  of  the  ecclesiastical  and  61 
of  the  secular  Bench;  and  50  Imperial  Cities,  13  of  the  Rhenish, 
and  37  of  the  Suabian  Bench.  The  King  of  Prussia  has  nine 
voices,  in  as  many  different  capacities. — Id. 

The  three  Colleges  assemble  in  the  same  House,  but  in  differ 
ent  apartments. — Id. 

The  Emperor,  as  head  of  the  Germanic  body,  is  President  of 
the  Diet.  He  and  others  are  represented  by  proxies  at  pres 
ent.— Id. 

The  deliberations  are  grounded  on  propositions  from  Emper 
or,  and  commence  in  the  College  of  Electors,  from  whence  they 
pass  to  that  of  the  Princes,  and  thence  to  that  of  the  Imperial 
Cities.  They  are  not  resolutions  till  they  have  been  passed  in 
each.  When  the  Electors  and  Princes  cannot  agree,  they  con 
fer;  but  do  not  confer  with  the  Imperial  Cities.  Plurality  of 
voices  decide  in  each  College,  except  in  matters  of  Religion  and 
a  few  reserved  cases,  in  which,  according  to  the  Treaty  of  West 
phalia  and  the  Imperial  Capitulations,  the  Empire  is  divided 
into  the  Catholic  and  Evangelic  Corps. — Id. 

After  the  Resolutions  have  passed  the  three  Colleges  they 
are  presented  to  the  Representative  of  the  Emperor,  without 
whose  ratification  they  are  null. — Id.  They  are  called  placita 
after  passing  the  three  Colleges;  conclusa,  after  ratification  by 
Emperor. — Id. 

The  collection  of  acts  of  one  Diet  is  called  the  Recess,  which 
cannot  be  made  up  and  have  the  force  of  law  till  the  close  of 
the  Diet.  The  subsisting  diet  has  not  been  closed  for  more  than 
a  hundred  years;  of  course  it  has  furnished  no  effective  Resolu- 


tion.  though  a  great  number  of  interesting  ones  have  passed. 
This  delay  proceeds  from  the  Imperial  Court,  who  refuse  to 
grant  a  recess,  notwithstanding  the  frequent  and  pressing  ap 
plications  made  for  one. — Id. 
Federal  Authority. 

The  powers  as  well  as  the  organization  of  the  Diet  have 
varied  at  different  times.  Antiently  it  elected  as  a  corps  the 
Emperors,  and  judged  of  their  conduct.  The  Golden  Bull  gives 
this  right  to  the  Electors  alone.  Antiently  it  regulated  tolls; 
at  present  the  Electors  alone  do  this. — Id. 

The  Treaty  of  Westphalia  and  the  capitulations  of  the  Em 
perors,  from  Charles  Y  downwards,  define  the  present  powers 
of  the  Diet.  These  concern — 1.  Legislation  of  the  Empire.  2. 
War  and  peace,  and  alliances.  3.  Raising  troops.  4.  Contri 
butions.  5.  Construction  of  fortresses.  6.  Money.  7.  Ban  of 
the  Empire.  8.  Admission  of  new  princes.  9.  The  Supreme 
tribunals.  10.  Disposition  of  grand  fiefs  and  grand  charges. 
In  all  these  points  the  Emperor  and  Diet  must  concur. — Id. 

The  Ban  of  the  Empire  is  a  sort  of  proscription,  by  which  the 
disturbers  of  the  public  peace  are  punished.  The  offender's  life 
and  goods  are  at  the  mercy  of  every  one;  formerly,  the  Empe 
rors  themselves  pronounced  the  ban  against  those  who  offended 
them.  It  has  been  since  regulated  that  no  one  shall  be  exposed 
to  the  ban  without  the  examination  and  consent  of  the  Diet. — 

By  the  Ban  the  party  is  outlawed,  degraded  from  all  his  fed 
eral  rights,  his  subjects  absolved  from  their  allegiance,  and  his 
possessions  forfeited. — Code  de  PHum. 

The  Ban  is  incurred  when  the  Emperor  or  one  of  the  supreme 
Tribunals  address  an  order  to  any  one,  on  pain,  in  case  of  dis 
obedience,  of  being  proscribed  ipso  facto. — Id. 

The  Circles,  formerly,  were  in  number  six  only.  There  are 
now  ten.  They  were  instituted  for  the  more  effectual  preserva 
tion  of  the  public  peace,  and  the  execution  of  decrees  of  Diet 
and  supreme  Tribunals  against  contumacious  members,  for  which 
purposes  they  have  their  particular  diets,  with  the  chief  Prince 
of  the  circle  at  their  head,  have  particular  officers  for  command- 

WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

ing  the  forces  of  the  Circle,  levy  contributions,  see  that  justice 
is  duly  administered,  that  the  coin  is  not  debased,  that  the  cus 
toms  are  not  unduly  raised. — Savage,  vol.  2,  p.  35. 

If  a  circle  fail  to  send  its  due  succours,  it  is  to  pay  damages 
suffered  therefrom  to  its  neighbours.  If  a  member  of  the  circle 
refuse,  the  Col.  of  the  circle  is  to  admonish;  and  if  this  be  in 
sufficient,  the  delinquent  party  is  to  be  compelled  under  a  sen 
tence  from  the  Imperial  Chamber. — Id. 

Imperial  Chamber,  established  in  1495  by  the  Diet,  as  a  means 
of  public  peace,  by  deciding  controversies  between  members  of 
the  Empire. — Code  dc  1'Hum. 

This  is  the  first  Tribunal  of  the  Empire.  It  has  an  appellate 
jurisdiction  in  all  Civil  and  fiscal  causes,  or  where  the  public 
peace  may  be  concerned.  It  has  a  concurrent  jurisdiction  with 
the  Aulic  Council,  and  causes  cannot  be  removed  from  one  to 
the  other. — Id. 

The  Judges  of  this  Tribunal  are  appointed  partly  by  the  Em 
peror,  partly  by  Electors,  partly  by  circles;  are  supported  by 
all  the  States  of  the  Empire,  excepting  the  Emperor.  They  are 
badly  paid,  though  great  salaries  are  annexed  to  their  offices. — 

In  every  action,  real  or  personal,  The  Diet,  Imperial  Cham 
ber,  and  Aulic  Council,  are  so  many  supreme  Courts,  to  which 
none  of  the  States  can  demur.  The  jurisprudence  by  which 
they  govern  themselves  are,  according  to  the  subject-matter: 
1.  The  provincial  laws  of  Germany.  2.  The  Scripture.  3. 
The  law  of  nature.  4.  Law  of  Nations.  5.  The  Roman  law. 
6.  The  canon  law.  7.  The  foedal  law  of  the  Lombards. — Id. 

Members  of  Diet,  as  such,  are  subject  in  all  public  affairs  to  be 
judged  by  Emperor  and  Diet;  as  individuals  in  private  capacity, 
are  subject  to  Aulic  Council  and  Imperial  Chamber. — Id. 

The  members  have  reserved  to  themselves  the  right — 1.  To 
enter  into  war  and  peace  with  foreign  powers.  2.  To  enter 
into  alliances  with  foreign  powers  and  with  one  another,  not 
prejudicial  to  their  engagements  to  the  Empire. — Code  de 
1'Hum.  3.  To  make  laws,  levy  taxes,  raise  troops,  to  deter 
mine  on  life  and  death. — Savage.  4.  Coin  money. — Id.  5. 


Exert  territorial  sovereignty  within  their  limits  in  their  own 
name. — Code  de  1'Hum.  6.  To  grant  pardons. — Savage,  p.  44. 
7.  To  furnish  their  quotas  of  troops,  equipped,  mounted,  and 
armed,  and  to  provide  for  sustenance  of  them,  as  if  they  served 
at  home. — Code  de  1'Hum. 

Adic  Council,  [established  by  Diet  in  1512. — Encyclop.,] 
composed  of  members  appointed  by  the  Emperor. — Code  de 

Its  cognizance  is  restrained  to  matters  above  2,000  crowns; 
is  concurrent  with  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Imperial  Chamber  in 
controversies  between  the  States;  also,  in  those  of  subjects  of 
the  Empire  by  way  of  appeal  from  subaltern  Tribunals  of  the 
Empire,  and  from  sovereign  Tribunals  of  Princes. — Id.  Arms 
are  to  be  used  for  carrying  its  decrees  into  execution,  as  was 
done  in  1718  by  the  troops  of  the  Circle  of  upper  Rhine,  in  a 
controversy  between  Landgrave  of  Hesse  Cassel  and  Prince  of 
Hesse  of  Rhinntz.— Id. 

Members  of  Empire  restricted — 

1.  From  entering  into  Confederacies  prejudicial  to  the  Em 

2.  From  laying  tolls  or  customs  upon  bridges,  rivers,  or  pass 
ages,  to  which  strangers  are  subject,  without  consent  of  the 
Emperor  in  full  diet. 

3.  Cannot  give  any  other  value  to  money,  nor  make  any 
other  kind  of  money,  than  what  is  allowed  by  the  Empire. — 
Savage,  vol.  2,  p.  45. 

4.  (By  edict  of  1548,  particularly,)  from  taking  arms  one 
against  another;  from  doing  themselves  justice;  from  affording 
retreat,  much  more  assistance,  to  infractors  of  the  public  peace; 
the  ban  of  the  Empire  being  denounced  against  the  transgress 
ors  of  these  prohibitions,  besides  a  fine  of  2,000  marks  of  Gold 
and  loss  of  regalities. — Code  d'Hum. 

Emperor  has  the  prerogative — 1.  Of  exclusively  making 
propositions  to  the  Diet.  2.  Presiding  in  all  Assemblies  and 
Tribunals  o .  the  Empire  when  he  chooses.  3.  Of  giving  suf 
frage  in  all  affairs  treated  in  the  Diet.  4.  Of  negativing  their 
resolutions.  5.  Of  issuing  them  in  his  own  name.  6.  Of  watch- 

314  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17557. 

ing  over  the  safety  of  the  Empire.  7.  Of  naming  Ambassadors 
to  negociate  within  the  Empire,  as  well  as  at  foreign  Courts, 
affairs  concerning  the  Germanic  Corps.  8.  Of  re-establishing 
in  good  fame  persons  dishonored  by  Council  of  war  and  civil 
Tribunals. — Code  d'Hum.  9.  Of  giving  investiture  of  the  prin 
cipal  immediate  fiefs  of  the  Empire;  which  is  not,  indeed,  of  much 
consequence.  10.  Of  conferring  vacant  electorates.  11.  Of 
preventing  subjects  from  being  withdrawn  from  the  jurisdiction 
of  their  proper  judge.  12.  Of  conferring  charges  of  the  Em 
pire.  13.  Of  conferring  dignities  and  titles,  as  of  Kings,  &c. 
14.  Of  instituting  military  orders.  15.  Of  granting  the  der 
nier  resort.  16.  Of  judging  differences  and  controversies 
touching  tolls.  17.  Of  deciding  contests  between  Catholic  and 
Protestant  States,  touching  precedence,  &c. — Id.  18.  Of  found 
ing  Universities  within  the  lands  of  the  States,  so  far  as  to  make 
the  person  endowed  with  Academic  honors  therein  be  regarded 
as  such  throughout  Germany.  19.  Of  granting  all  sorts  of 
privileges  not  injurious  to  the  States  of  the  Empire.  20.  Of 
establishing  great  fairs.  21.  Of  receiving  the  droit  des  Postes 
generales.  22.  Of  striking  money,  but  without  augmenting  or 
diminishing  its  value.  23.  Of  permitting  strangers  to  enlist 
soldiers,  conformably  to  Recess  of  1654. — Id.  24.  Of  receiv 
ing  and  applying  Revenues  of  Empire. — Savage,  p.  .  He 
cannot  make  war  or  peace,  nor  laws,  nor  levy  taxes,  nor  alter 
the  denomination  of  money,  nor  weights  or  measures. — Savage, 
v.  2,  p.  35.  The  Emperor,  as  such,  does  not  properly  possess 
any  territory  within  the  Empire,  nor  derive  any  revenue  for 
his  support. — Code  de  1'Hum. 
Vices  of  the  Constitution. 

1.  The  Quotas  are  complained  of,  and  supplied  very  irregu 
larly  and  defectively. — Code  de  1'Hum.     Provision  is  made  by 
decree  of  diet  for  enforcing  them,  but  it  is  a  delicate  matter  to 
execute  it  against  the  powerful  members. — Id. 

2.  The  establishment  of  the  Imperial  Chamber  has  not  been 
found  an  efficacious  remedy  against  civil  wars.     It  has  com 
mitted  faults.   The  Ressortissans  have  not  always  been  docile.— 

17R7  LETTERS.  315 

3.  Altho'  the  establishment  of  Imperial  Chambers,  £c.,  give 
a  more  regular  form  to  the  police  of  the  fiefs,  it  is  not  to  be 
supposed  they  are  capable  of  giving  a  certain  force  to  the  laws 
and  maintaining  the  peace  of  the  Empire,  if  the  House  of  Aus 
tria  had  not  acquired  power  enough  to  maintain  itself  on  the 
Imperial  Throne,  to  make  itself  respected,  and  to  give  orders 
which  it  might  be  imprudent  to  despise,  as  the  laws  were  there 
fore  despised. — Mably  Etude  de  hist.,  p.  130. 

[Jealousy  of  the  Imperial  authority  seems  to  have  been  a 
great  cement  of  the  Confederacy.] 


NEW  YORK,  April  19th,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — No  definitive  steps  are  yet  taken  for  the  trans 
portation  of  your  furniture.  I  fear  we  shall  be  obliged  to  make 
use  of  a  conveyance  to  Norfolk  as  soon  as  one  shall  offer.  1 
have  examined  the  workmanship  of  the  man  in  Chappel  street. 
•The  face  of  it  is  certainly  superior  to  that  of  your  workman. 
Whether  it  may  prove  much  so  for  substantial  purposes,  I  do  not 
undertake  to  say.  Should  Mrs.  Monroe  not  be  pleased  with  the 
articles,  I  would  recommend  that  you  dispose  of  them,  which 
may  be  done,  probably,  without  loss,  and  send  us  a  commission 
to  replace  them.  I  think  we  could  please  you  both,  and  on  terms 
not  dearer  than  that  of  your  purchase.  We  learn  nothing  yet 
of  a  remittance  from  S.  Carolina. 

The  business  of  the  Mississippi  will,  I  think,  come  to  a  point 
in  a  few  days.  You  shall  know  the  result  in  due  time. 

A  motion  was  lately  made  to  remove  shortly  to  Philadelphia; 
six  States  would  have  been  for  it.  Rhode  Island  was  so  at  first, 
and  would  have  been  a  seventh.  One  of  the  delegation  was 
overpowered  by  exertions  of  his.  Eastern  brethren.  I  need  not 
rehearse  to  you  the  considerations  which  operated  on  both  sides. 
Your  conjectures  will  not  mistake  them.  My  own  opinion  is, 
that  there  are  strong  objections  against  the  moment,  [move 
ment?]  objections  which  nothing  would  supersede  but  the  diffi- 

316  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

culty  of  bringing  the  sense  of  the  Union  to  an  efficient  vote 
in  Congress,  and  the  danger  of  losing  altogether  a  proper 
measure  by  waiting  for  a  proper  time.  A  middle  way  would 
have  been  my  choice;  that  is,  to  fix  Philadelphia  for  the  meet 
ing  of  the  ensuing  Congress,  and  to  remain  here  in  the  mean 
time.  This  would  have  given  time  for  all  preliminary  arrange 
ments,  would  have  steered  clear  of  the  Convention,  and,  by  se 
lecting  a  natural  period  for  the  event,  and  transferring  the 
operation  of  it  to  our  successors  in  office,  all  insinuations  of 
suddenness,  and  of  personal  views,  would  have  been  repelled. 

I  hear  with  great  pleasure  that  you  are  to  aid  the  delibera 
tions  of  the  next  Assembly,  and  with  much  concern  that  paper 
money  will  probably  be  among  the  bad  measures  which  you  will 
have  to  battle.  Wishing  you  success  in  this  and  all  your  other 
labours  for  the  public  and  for  yourself,  I  remain,  with  best  re 
spects  to  Mrs.  Monroe, 

Yours  affectionately. 


NEW  YORK,  April  22nd,  1787. 

MY  DEAR  SIK, — The  period  since  my  last  has  afforded  such 
scanty  materials  for  a  letter,  that  I  have  postponed  it  till  I  have 
now  to  thank  you  for  yours  of  the  7th  instant,  which  came  to 
hand  two  days  ago.  I  always  feel  pleasure  in  hearing  from  you, 
but  particularly  when  my  concern  for  your  doubtful  health  is  re 
lieved  by  such  an  evidence  in  its  favor.  At  the  same  time,  I 
must  repeat  my  wishes  to  forego  this  pleasure  whenever  it  may 
interfere  with  the  attention  which  you  owe  to  your  ease,  your 
business,  or  your  other  friends. 

I  do  not  learn  that  any  symptoms  yet  appear  of  a  return  of 
the  insurgent  spirit  in  Massachusetts.  On  the  contrary,  it  is 
said  that  the  malcontents  are  trying  their  strength  in  a  more 
regular  form.  This  is  the  crisis  of  their  elections;  and  if  they 
can  muster  sufficient  numbers,  their  wicked  measures  are  to  be 

1787.  LETTERS.  317 

sheltered  under  the  form?  of  the  Constitution.  How  far  their 
influence  may  predominate  in  the  current  appointments  is  un 
certain;  but  it  is  pretty  certain  that  a  great  change  in  the  ru 
lers  of  that  State  is  taking  place,  and  that  a  paper  emission,  if 
nothing  worse,  is  strongly  apprehended.  Governor  Bowdoin 
is  already  displaced  jn  favor  of  Mr.  Hancock,  whose  acknowl 
edged  merits  are  not  a  little  tainted  by  an  obsequiousness  to 
popular  follies.  A  great  change  has  also  taken  place  in  the 
Senate,  and  a  still  greater  is  prognosticated  in  the  other  branch 
of  the  Legislature. 

We  are  flattered  with  the  prospect  of  a  pretty  full  and  very 
respectable  meeting  in  next  month.  All  the  States  have  made 
appointments,  except  Connecticut,  Maryland,  and  Rhode  Island. 
The  last  has  refused.  Maryland  will  certainly  concur.  The 
temper  of  Connecticut  is  equivocal.  The  turn  of  her  elections, 
which  are  now  going  on,  is  said  to  be  rather  unpropitious.  The 
absence  of  one  or  two  States,  however,  will  not  materially  affect 
the  deliberations  of  the  Convention.  Disagreement  in  opinion 
among  the  present  is  much  more  likely  to  embarrass  us.  The 
nearer  the  crisis  approaches,  the  more  I  tremble  for  the  issue. 
The  necessity  of  gaining  the  concurrence  of  the  Convention  in 
some  system  that  will  answer  the  purpose,  the  subsequent  ap 
probation  of  Congress,  and  the  final  sanction  of  the  States,  pre 
sent  a  series  of  chances  which  would  inspire  despair  in  any 
case  where  the  alternative  was  less  formidable.  The  difficulty, 
too,  is  not  a  little  increased  by  the  necessity  which  will  be  pro 
duced,  by  encroachments  on  the  State  Constitutions,  of  obtain 
ing  not  merely  the  assent  of  the  Legislatures,  but  the  ratifica 
tion  of  the  people  themselves.  Indeed,  if  such  encroachments 
could  be  avoided,  a  higher  sanction  than  the  Legislative  au 
thority  would  be  necessary  to  render  the  laws  of  the  Confed 
eracy  paramount  to  the  acts  of  its  members. 

I  inclose  a  late  act  of  Congress,  which  will  shew  you  the  light 
in  which  they  view  and  inculcate  a  compliance  with  the  Treaty 
of  peace.  We  were  not  unaware  of  the  bitterness  of  the  pill  to 
many  of  our  countrymen,  but  national  considerations  overruled 
that  objection.  An  investigation  of  the  subject  had  proved  that 

318  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

the  violations  on  our  part  were  not  only  most  numerous  and 
important,  but  were  of  earliest  date.  And  the  assurances  on 
the  other  part  are  explicit,  that  a  reparation  of  our  wrongful 
measures  shall  be  followed  by  an  immediate  and  faithful  execu 
tion  of  the  Treaty  by  Great  Britain. 

Congress  are  at  present  deliberating  on  the  most  proper  plan 
for  disposing  of  the  Western  lands,  and  providing  a  criminal 
and  civil  administration  for  the  Western  settlements  beyond 
the  Ohio.  The  latter  subject  involves  great  difficulties.  On 
the  former,  also,  opinions  are  various.  Between  6  and  700,000 
acres  have  been  surveyed  in  Townships,  and  are  to  be  sold  as 
soon  as  they  shall  be  duly  advertised.  The  sale  was  at  first  to 
have  been  distributed  throughout  the  States.  This  plan  is  now 
exchanged  for  the  opposite  extreme.  The  sale  is  to  be  made 
where  Congress  sit.  Unquestionably,  reference  ought  to  have 
been  had,  in  fixing  on  the  place,  either  to  the  center  of  the 
Union  or  to  the  proximity  of  the  premises.  In  providing  for 
the  unsurveyed  lands,  the  difficulty  arises  from  the  Eastern  at 
tachment  to  townships,  and  the  Southern,  to  indiscriminate 
locations.  A  copper  coinage  was  agreed  on  yesterday,  to  the 
amount  of  upwards  of  two  hundred  thousand  dollars;  15  per 
cent,  is  to  be  drawn  into  the  federal  Treasury  from  this  opera 

Our  affair  with  Spain  is  on  a  very  delicate  footing.  It  is  not 
easy  to  say  what  precise  steps  would  be  most  proper  to  be  taken 
on  our  side,  and  extremely  difficult  to  say  what  will  be  actually 
taken.  Many  circumstances  threaten  an  Indian  war,  but  the 
certainty  of  it  is  not  established.  A  British  officer  was  lately 
here  from  Canada,  as  has  been  propagated,  but  not  on  a  mission 
to  Congress.  His  business  was  unknown,  if  he  had  any  that 
was  important. 

I  am  extremely  concerned,  though  not  much  surprised,  at  the 
danger  of  a  paper  emission  in  Virginia.  If  Mr.  Henry  should 
erect  the  standard,  he  will  certainly  be  joined  by  sufficient  force 
to  accomplish  it.  Remorse  and  shame  are  but  too  feeble  re 
straints  on  interested  individuals  against  unjust  measures,  and 
are  rarely  felt  at  all  by  interested  multitudes. 

LETTERS.  319 


April  23d,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  vigorous  measures  finally  pursued  by  the 
Government  of  Massachusetts  against  the  insurgents  had  the 
intended  effect  of  dispersing  them.  By  some  it  was  feared  that 
they  would  re-embody  on  the  return  of  favorable  weather.  As 
yet,  no  symptom  of  such  a  design  has  appeared.  It  would  seem 
that  they  mean  to  try  their  strength  in  another  way ;  that  is, 
by  endeavoring  to  give  the  elections  such  a  turn  as  may  pro 
mote  their  views  under  the  auspices  of  Constitutional  forms. 
How  far  they  may  succeed  is  not  yet  reducible  to  certainty. 
That  a  great  change  will  be  effected  in  the  component  members 
of  the  Government  is  certain,  but  the  degree  of  influence  im- 
putable  to  the  malcontents  cannot  be  well  known  till  some 
specimen  shall  be  given  of  the  temper  of  the  new  rulers.  A 
great  proportion  of  the  Senate  is  changed,  and  a  greater  pro 
portion  of  the  other  branch  it  is  expected  will  be  changed.  A 
paper  emission,  at  least,  is  apprehended  from  this  revolution  in 
their  councils. 

Considerable  changes  are  taking  place,  I  hear,  in  the  County 
elections  in  Virginia,  and  a  strong  itch  beginning  to  return  for 
paper  money.  Mr.  Henry  is  said  to  have  the  measure  in  con 
templation,  and  to  be  laying  his  train  for  it  already.  He  will, 
however,  be  powerfully  opposed  by  Col.  Mason,  if  he  should  be 
elected  and  be  able  to  serve ;  by  Monroe,  Marshall,  and  Lud- 
well  Lee,  (son  of  R.  H.  Lee,)  who  are  already  elected ;  and 
sundry  others  of  inferior  rank.  Mr.  Harrison,  the  late  Gov 
ernor,  has  so  far  regained  the  favor  of  Charles  City  as  to  be  re 
instated  a  representative.  The  part  which  he  will  take  is  un 
certain.  From  his  repeated  declarations  he  ought  to  be  adverse 
to  a  paper  emission. 

320  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

Notes  on  the  Confederacy.  —  April,  1787. 

Vices  of  the  Political  Ohsprvatirm*  V»v   T   AT 

system  of  the  U.  States.  ons  W  J  •  M< 

1.  Failure  of  the  States         l-  This  evil  has  been  so  full>7  experienced 
to  comply  with  the  Con-     both  during  the  war  and  since  the  peace, 

ions'  results  so  naturally  from  the  number  and 
independent  authority  of  the  States,  and  has  been  so  uniformly 
exemplified  in  every  similar  Confederacy,  that  it  may  be  con 
sidered  as  not  less  radically  and  permanently  inherent  in,  than 
it  is  fatal  to  the  object  of,  the  present  system. 

2.  Encroachments  by         2«  Examples  of  this  arc  numerous,  and 
the  States  on  the  federal     repetitions  may  be  foreseen  in  almost  every 

case  where  any  favorite  object  of  a  State 
shall  present  a  temptation.  Among  these  examples  are  the 
wars  and  treaties  of  Georgia  with  the  Indians,  the  unlicensed 
compacts  between  Virginia  and  Maryland,  and  between  Penn 
sylvania  and  New  Jersey,  the  troops  raised  and  to  be  kept  up 
by  Massachusetts. 

3.  Violations  of  the         3'  From  the  number  of  Legislatures,  tlje 
law  of  nations  and  of    sphere  of  life  from  which  most  of  their 

members  are  taken,  and  the  circumstances 
under  which  their  legislative  business  is  carried  on,  irregulari 
ties  of  this  kind  must  frequently  happen.  Accordingly,  not  a 
year  has  passed  without  instances  of  them  in  some  one  or  other 
of  the  States.  The  Treaty  of  Peace,  the  treaty  with  France, 
the  treaty  with  Holland,  have  each  been  violated.  [See  the 
complaints  to  Congress  on  these  subjects.]  The  causes  of  these 
irregularities  must  necessarily  produce  frequent  violations  of 
the  law  of  nations  in  other  respects. 

As  yet,  foreign  powers  have  not  been  rigorous  in  animad 
verting  on  us.  This  moderation,  however,  cannot  be  mistaken 
for  a  permanent  partiality  to  our  faults,  or  a  permanent  security 
against  those  disputes  with  other  nations,  which,  being  among 
the  greatest  of  public  calamities,  it  ought  to  be  least  in  the 
power  of  any  part  of  the  community  to  bring  on  the  whole. 

1787.  NOTES    ON    THE    CONFEDERACY.  321 

-i.  Trespasses  of  the  4  These  are  alarming  symptoms,  and 
States  on  the  rights  of  may  be  daily  apprehended,  as  we  are  ad 
monished  by  daily  experience.  See  the 
law  of  Virginia  restricting  foreign  vessels  to  certain  ports;  of 
Maryland  in  favor  of  vessels  belonging  to  her  own  citizens  •  of 
N.  York  in  favor  of  the  same. 

Paper  money,  instalments  of  debts,  occlusion  of  courts,  making 
property  a  legal  tender,  may  likewise  be  deemed  aggressions 
on  the  rights  of  other  States.  As  the  citizens  of  every  State, 
aggregately  taken,  stand  more  or  less  in  the  relation  of  cred 
itors  or  debtors  to  the  citizens  of  every  other  State,  acts  of  the 
debtor  State  in  favor  of  debtors  affect  the  creditor  State  in  the 
same  manner  as  they  do  its  own  citizens,  who  are,  relatively, 
creditors  towards  other  citizens.  This  remark  may  be  extended 
to  foreign  nations.  If  the  exclusive  regulation  of  the  value 
and  alloy  of  coin  was  properly  delegated  to  the  federal  author 
ity,  the  policy  of  it  equally  requires  a  controul  on  the  States 
in  the  cases  above  mentioned.  It  must  have  been  meant — 1. 
To  preserve  uniformity  in  the  circulating  medium  throughout  the 
nation.  2.  To  prevent  those  frauds  on  the  citizens  of  other 
States,  and  the  subjects  of  foreign  powers,  which  might  disturb 
the  tranquillity  at  home,  or  involve  the  union  in  foreign  con 

The  practice  of  many  States  in  restricting  the  commercial 
intercourse  with  other  States,  and  putting  their  productions 
and  manufactures  on  the  same  footing  with  those  of  foreign 
nations,  though  not  contrary  to  the  federal  articles,  is  certainly 
adverse  to  the  spirit  of  the  Union,  and  tends  to  beget  retalia 
ting  regulations,  not  less  expensive  and  vexatious  in  themselves 
than  they  are  destructive  of  the  general  harmony. 

5.  Want  of  concert  in         5'  This  defect  is  strongly  illustrated  in 

matters  where  common     the  state  of  our  commercial  affairs.     How 

much  has  the  national  dignity,  interest, 

and  revenue,  suffered  from  this  cause  ?     Instances  of  inferior 

moment  are  the  want  of  uniformity  in  the  laws  concerning 

naturalization  and  literary  property;  of  provision  for  national 

seminaries;  for  grants  of  incorporation  for  national  purposes, 

VOL.  i.  21 

322  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

for  canals,  and  other  works  of  general  utility;  which  may  at 
present  be  defeated  by  the  perverseness  of  particular  States 
whose  concurrence  is  necessary. 

6  Want  of  Guaranty         6.  ^^e  Confederation  is  silent  on  this 
to  the  states  of  their     point,  and  therefore  by  the  second  article 

Constitutions  and  laws      ,11        T       /»  ,n       *   -,        i        ,1       •,  , .    i 

against  internal  vio-  the  hands  oi  the  lederal  authority  are  tied, 
icnce.  According  to  Republican  Theory,  Right 

and  power,  being  both  vested  in  the  majority,  are  held  to  be 
synonymous.  According  to  fact  and  experience,  a  minority 
may,  in  an  appeal  to  force,  be  an  overmatch  for  the  majority: 
1.  If  the  minority  happen  to  include  all  such  as  possess  the 
skill  and  habits  of  military  life,  and  such  as  possess  the  great 
pecuniary  resources,  one-third  only  may  conquer  the  remaining 
two-thirds.  2.  One-third  of  those  who  participate  in  the  choice 
of  the  rulers  may  be  rendered  a  majority  by  the  accession  of 
those  whose  poverty  excludes  them  from  a  right  of  suffrage, 
and  who,  for  obvious  reasons,  will  be  more  likely  to  join  the 
standard  of  sedition  than  that  of  the  established  Government. 
3.  Where  slavery  exists,  the  republican  Theory  becomes  still 
more  fallacious. 

7.  A  sanction  is  essential  to  the  idea  of 

7.  Want  of  sanction  to      ,  .  n  ^ 

the  laws,  and  of  coercion  law,  as  coercion  is  to  that  ot  Government, 
in  the  Government  of  T1  federal  SyStem  being  destitute  of  both, 

the  Contederacy.  J 

wants  the  great  vital  principles  of  a  Politi 
cal  Constitution.  Under  the  form  of  such  a  Constitution,  it  is 
in  fact  nothing  more  than  a  treaty  of  amity,  of  commerce,  and 
of  alliance,  between  independent  and  Sovereign  States.  From 
what  cause  could  so  fatal  an  omission  have  happened  in  the 
articles  of  Confederation?  From  a  mistaken  confidence  that 
the  justice,  the  good  faith,  the  honor,  the  sound  policy  of  the 
several  legislative  assemblies  would  render  superfluous  any  ap 
peal  to  the  ordinary  motives  by  which  the  laws  secure  the  obe 
dience  of  individuals;  a  confidence  which  does  honor  to  the 
enthusiastic  virtue  of  the  compilers,  as  much  as  the  inexperience 
of  the  crisis  apologizes  for  their  errors.  The  time  which  has 
since  elapsed  has  had  the  double  effect  of  increasing  the  light 
and  tempering  the  warmth  with  which  the  arduous  work  may 

1787.  NOTES    ON    THE    CONFEDERACY.  323 

be  revised.  It  is  no  longer  doubted  that  a  unanimous  and  punc 
tual  obedience  of  13  independent  bodies  to  the  acts  of  the  fed 
eral  Government  ought  not  to  be  calculated  on.  Even  during  the 
war,  when  external  danger  supplied  in  some  degree  the  defect 
of  legal  and  coercive  sanctions,  how  imperfectly  did  the  States 
fulfil  their  obligations  to  the  Union?  In  time  of  peace  we  see 
already  what  is  to  be  expected.  How,  indeed,  could  it  be  other 
wise?  In  the  first  place,  every  general  act  of  the  Union  must 
necessarily  bear  unequally  hard  on  some  particular  member  or 
members  of  it;  secondly,  the  partiality  of  the  members  to  their 
own  interests  and  rights,  a  partiality  which  will  be  fostered  by 
the  courtiers  of  popularity,  will  naturally  exaggerate  the  ine 
quality  where  it  exists,  and  even  suspect  it  where  it  has  no  ex 
istence;  thirdly,  a  distrust  of  the  voluntary  compliance  of  each 
other  may  prevent  the  compliance  of  any,  although  it  should  be 
the  latent  disposition  of  all.  Here  are  causes  and  pretexts 
which  will  never  fail  to  render  federal  measures  abortive.  If 
the  laws  of  the  States  were  merely  recommendatory  to  their 
citizens,  or  if  they  were  to  be  rejudged  by  county  authorities, 
what  security,  what  probability  would  exist  that  they  would  be 
carried  into  execution?  Is  the  security  or  probability  greater 
in  favor  of  the  acts  of  Congress,  which,  depending  for  their  ex 
ecution  on  the  will  of  the  State  legislatures,  are,  tho'  nomi 
nally  authoritative,  in  fact  recommendatory  only? 

S.  Want  of  ratification  8«   In  S0me  °f  the  States  the  Confedera- 

by  the  people  of  the  ar-     tion  is  recognized  by  and  forms  a  part  of 

tides  of  Confederation.      ,v       /-^         ,.,     ,•  .11 

the  Constitution.  In  others,  however,  it 
has  received  no  other  sanction  than  that  of  the  legislative  au 
thority.  From  this  defect  two  evils  result:  1.  Whenever  a  law 
of  a  State  happens  to  be  repugnant  to  an  act  of  Congress,  par 
ticularly  when  the  latter  is  of  posterior  date  to  the  former,  it 
will  be  at  least  questionable  whether  the  latter  must  not  pre 
vail;  arid  as  the  question  must  be  decided  by  the  Tribunals  of 
the  State,  they  will  be  most  likely  to  lean  on  the  side  of  the 

2.  As  far  as  the  union  of  the  States  is  to  be  regarded  as  a 
league  of  sovereign  powers,  and  not  as  a  political  Constitution, 

324  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1737. 

by  virtue  of  which  they  are  become  one  sovereign  power,  so  far 
it  seems  to  follow,  from  the  doctrine  of  compacts,  that  a  breach 
of  any  of  the  articles  of  the  Confederation  by  any  of  the  parties 
to  it  absolves  the  other  parties  from  their  respective  obliga 
tions,  and  gives  them  a  right,  if  they  choose  to  exert  it,  of  dis 
solving  the  Union  altogether. 

9.  Multiplicity  of  laws        9-  In  developing  the  evils  which  viciate 
in  the  several  States.         the  political  system  of  the  United  States, 
it  is  proper  to  include  those  which  are  found  within  the  States 
individually,  as  well  as  those  which  directly  affect  the  States 
collectively,  since  the  former  class  have  an  indirect  influence  on 
the  general  malady,  and  must  not  be  overlooked  in  forming  a 
compleat  remedy.    Among  the  evils,  then,  of  our  situation,  may 
well  be  ranked  the  multiplicity  of  laws,  from  which  no  State  is 
exempt.     As  far  as  laws  are  necessary  to  mark  with  precision 
the  duties  of  those  who  are  to  obey  them,  and  to  take  from 
those  who  are  to  administer  them  a  discretion  which  might  be 
abused,  their  number  is  the  price  of  liberty.     As  far  as  laws 
exceed  this  limit  they  are  a  nuisance;  a  nuisance  of  the  most 
pestilent  kind.     Try  the  Codes  of  the  several  States  by  this 
test,  and  what  a  luxuriancy  of  legislation  do  they  present.    The 
short  period  of  independency  has  filled  as  many  pages  as  the 
century  which  preceded  it.     Every  year,  almost  every  session, 
adds  a  new  volume.     This  may  be  the  effect  in  part,  but  it  can 
only  be  in  part,  of  the  situation  in  which  the  revolution  has 
placed  us.    A  review  of  the  several  Codes  will  shew  that  every 
necessary  and  useful  part  of  the  least  voluminous  of  them  might 
be  compressed  into  one-tenth  of  the  compass,  and  at  the  same 
time  be  rendered  ten-fold  as  perspicuous. 

10.  Mutability  of  the        10-   This   evil  is   intimately  connected 
laws  of  the  States.  with  the  former,  yet  deserves  a  distinct 
notice,  as  it  emphatically  denotes  a  vicious  legislation.     We 
daily  see  laws  repealed  or  superseded  before  any  trial  can  have 
been  made  of  their  merits,  and  even  before  a  knowledge  of  them 
can  have  reached  the  remoter  districts  within  which  they  were 
to  operate.    In  the  regulations  of  trade,  this  instability  becomes 
a  snare  not  only  to  our  citizens,  but  to  foreigners  also. 

1787.  NOTES    ON    THE    CONFEDERACY.  325 

11.  injustice  of  the  H-  If  the  multiplicity  and  mutability  of 
laws  of  the  States.  }aws  prOve  a  want  of  wisdom,  their  injus 

tice  betrays  a  defect  still  more  alarming;  more  alarming,  not 
merely  because  it  is  a  greater  evil  in  itself,  but  because  it  brings 
more  into  question  the  fundamental  principle  of  republican 
Government,  that  the  majority  who  rule  in  such  Governments 
are  the  safest  guardians  both  of  public  good  and  of  private 
rights.  To  what  causes  is  this  evil  to  be  ascribed? 

These  causes  lie — 1.  In  the  representative  bodies.  2.  In  the 
people  themselves. 

1.  Representative  appointments  are  sought  from  3  motives: 
1.  Ambition.     2.  Personal  interest.     3.  Public  good.    Unhap 
pily,  the  two  first  are  proved  by  experience  to  be  most  preva 
lent.     Hence,  the  candidates  who  feel  them,  particularly  the 
second,  are  most  industrious  and  most  successful  in  pursuing 
their  object;  and  forming  often  a  majority  in  the  legislative 
Councils,  with  interested  views,  contrary  to  the  interest  and 
views  of  their  constituents,  join  in  a  perfidious  sacrifice  of  the 
latter  to  the  former.     A  succeeding  election,  it  might  be  sup 
posed,  would  displace  the  offenders,  and  repair  the  mischief. 
But  how  easily  are  base  and  selfish  measures  masked  by  pre 
texts  of  public  good  and  apparent   expediency?     How  fre 
quently  will  a  repetition  of  the  same  arts  and  industry  which 
succeeded  in  the  first  instance  again  prevail  on  the  unwary  to 
misplace  their  confidence? 

How  frequently,  too,  will  the  honest  but  unenlightened  rep 
resentative  be  the  dupe  of  a  favorite  leader,  veiling  his  selfish 
views  under  the  professions  of  public  good,  and  varnishing  his 
sophistical  arguments  with  the  glowing  colours  of  popular  elo 

2.  A  still  more  fatal,  if  not  more  frequent  cause,  lies  among 
the  people  themselves.     All  civilized  societies  are  divided  into 
different  interests  and  factions,  as  they  happen  to  be  creditors 
or  debtors,  rich  or  poor,  husbandmen,  merchants,  or  manufac 
turers,  members  of  different  religious  sects,  followers  of  differ 
ent  political  leaders,  inhabitants  of  different  districts,  owners 
of  different  kinds  of  property,  &c.,  &c.   Un  republican  Govern- 

326  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  17R7. 

ment,  the  majority,  however  composed,  ultimately  give  the  law. 
Whenever,  therefore,  an  apparent  interest  or  common  passion 
unites  a  majority,  what  is  to  restrain  them  from  unjust  viola 
tions  of  the  rights  and  interests  of  the  minority,  or  of  individ 
uals?  Three  motives  only:  1.  A  prudent  regard  to  their  own 
good,  as  involved  in  the  general  and  permanent  good  of  the 
community.  This  consideration,  although  of  decisive  weight 
in  itself,  is  found  by  experience  to  be  too  often  unheeded.  It  is 
too  often  forgotten,  by  nations  as  well  as  by  individuals,  that 
honesty  is  the  best  policy.  2dly.  Respect  for  character.  How 
ever  strong  this  motive  may  be  in  individuals,  it  is  considered 
as  very  insufficient  to  restrain  them  from  injustice.  In  a  mul 
titude  its  efficacy  is  diminished  in  proportion  to  the  number 
which  is  to  share  the  praise  or  the  blame.  Besides,  as  it  has 
reference  to  public  opinion,  which,  within  a  particular  society, 
is  the  opinion  of  the  majority,  the  standard  is  fixed  by  those 
whose  conduct  is  to  be  measured  by  it.  The  public  opinion 
without  the  society  will  be  little  respected  by  the  people  at 
large  of  any  Country.  Individuals  of  extended  views  and  of 
national  pride  may  bring  the  public  proceedings  to  this  stand 
ard,  but  the  example  will  never  be  followed  by  the  multitude. 
Is  it  to  be  imagined  that  an  ordinary  citizen  or  even  Assembly 
man  of  R.  Island,  in  estimating  the  policy  of  J^ajjCT  jnoney,  ever 
considered  or  cared  in  what  light  the  measure  would  be  viewed 
in  France  or  Holland,  or  even  in  Massachusetts  or  Connecti 
cut?  It  was  a  sufficient  temptation  to  both  that  it  was  for 
their  interest;  it  was  a  sufficient  sanction  to  the  latter  that  it 
was  popular  in  the  State;  to  the  former,  that  it  was  so  in  the 
neighbourhood.  3dly.  Will  Religion,  the  only  remaining  mo 
tive,  be  a  sufficient  restraint?  It  is  not  pretended  to  be  such, 
on  men  individually  considered.  Will  its  effect  be  greater  on 
them  considered  in  an  aggregate  view?  Quite  the  reverse. 
The  conduct  of  every  popular  assembly  acting  on  oath,  the 
strongest  of  religious  ties,  proves  that  individuals  join  without 
remorse  in  acts  against  which  their  consciences  would  revolt 
if  proposed  to  them  under  the  like  sanction,  separately,  in  their 
closets.  When,  indeed,  Religion  is  kindled  into  enthusiasm, 

1787.  NOTES    ON    THE    CONFEDERACY.  307 

its  force,  like  that  of  other  passions,  is  increased  by  the  sym 
pathy  of  a  multitude.  But  enthusiasm  is  only  a  temporary 
state  of  religion,  and,  while  it  lasts,  will  hardly  be  seen  with 
pleasure  at  the  helm  of  Government.  Besides,  as  religion  in 
its  coolest  state  is  not  infallible,  it  may  become  a  motive  to 
oppression  as  well  as  a  restraint  from  injustice.  Place  three 
individuals  in  a  situation  wherein  the  interest  of  each  depends 
on  the  voice  of  the  others,  and  give  to  two  of  them  an  interest 
opposed  to  the  rights  of  the  third.  Will  the  latter  be  secure? 
The  prudence  of  every  man  would  shun  the  danger.  The  rules 
;md  forms  of  justice  suppose  and  guard  against  it.  Will  two 
thousand  in  a  like  situation  be  less  likely  to  encroach  on  the 
rights  of  one  thousand?  The  contrary  is  witnessed  by  the  no 
torious  factions  and  oppressions  which  take  place  in  corporate 
towns,  limited  as  the  opportunities  are,  and  in  little  republics, 
when  uncontrouled  by  apprehensions  of  external  danger.  (If  an 
enlargement  of  the  sphere  is  found  to  lessen  the  insecurity  of 
private  rights,  it  is  not  because  the  impulse  of  a  common  inter- 
/est  or  passion  is  less  predominant  in  this  case  with  the  major 
ity,  but  because  a  common  interest  or  passion  is  less  apt  to  be 
felt,  a~nd  the  requisite  combinations  less  easy  to  be  formed,  by  a 
great  than  by  a  small  number.  The  society  becomes  broken 
info  a  greater  variety  of  interests  and  pursuits  of  passions, 
Which  check  each  other,  whilst  those  who  may  feel  a  common 
(sentiment  have  less  opportunity  of  communication  and  concert!) 
It  may  be  inferred  that  the  inconveniences  of  popular  States, 
contrary  to  the  prevailing  Theory,  are  in  proportion  not  to  the 
extent,  but  to  the  narrowness  of  their  limits. 

The  great  desideratum  in  Government  is  such  a  modification 
of  the  sovereignty  as  will  render  it  sufficiently  neutral  between 
the  different  interests  and  factions  to  controul  one  part  of  the 
society  from  invading  the  rights  of  another,  and,  at  the  same 
time,  sufficiently  controuled  itself  from  setting  up  an  interest 
adverse  to  that  of  the  whole  society.  In  absolute  Monarchies 
the  prince  is  sufficiently  neutral  towards  his  subjects,  but  fre 
quently  sacrifices  their  happiness  to  his  ambition  or  his  avarice. 
In  small  Republics,  the  sovereign  will  is  sufficiently  controuled 

328  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

from  such  a  sacrifice  of  the  entire  Society,  but  is  not  sufficiently 
neutral  towards  the  parts  composing  it.  As  a  limited  monarchy 
tempers  the  evils  of  an  absolute  one,  so  an  extensive  Republic 
meliorates  the  administration  of  a  small  Republic. 

An  auxiliary  desideratum  for  the  melioration  of  the  Repub 
lican  form  is  such  a  process  of  elections  as  will  most  certainly 
extract  from  the  mass  of  the  society  the  purest  and  noblest 
characters  which  it  contains;  such  as  will  at  once  feel  most 
strongly  the  proper  motives  to  pursue  the  end  of  their  appoint 
ment,  and  be  most  capable  to  devise  the  proper  means  of  attain 
ing  it. 


PHILADELPHIA.  May  15,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — Monday  last  was  the  day  for  the  meeting  of  the 
Convention.  The  number  as  yet  assembled  is  but  small.  Among 
the  few  is  General  Washington,  who  arrived  on  Sunday  evening, 
amidst  the  acclamations  of  the  people,  as  well  as  more  sober 
marks  of  the  affection  and  veneration  which  continues  to  be 
felt  for  his  character.  The  Governor,  Messrs.  Wythe  and  Blair, 
and  Doctor  McClurg,  are  also  here.  Col.  Mason  is  to  be  here 
in  a  day  or  two.  There  is  a  prospect  of  a  pretty  full  meeting 
on  the  whole,  though  there  is  less  punctuality  in  the  outset  than 
was  to  be  wished.  Of  this  the  late  bad  weather  has  been  the 
principal  cause.  I  mention  these  circumstances  because  it  is 
possible  this  may  reach  you  before  you  hear  from  me  through 
any  other  channel,  and  I  add  no  others  because  it  is  merely 


PHILADELPHIA,  May  27,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  put  off,  from  day  to  day,  writing  to  my 
friends  from  this  place,  in  hopes  of  being  able  to  say  something 
of  the  Convention.  Contrary  to  every  previous  calculation,  the 

1787.  LETTERS.  329 

bare  quorum  of  seven  States  was  not  made  up  till  the  day  be 
fore  yesterday.  The  States  composing  it  are  New  York,  New 
Jersey,  Pennsylvania,  Delaware,  Virginia,  North  Carolina,  and 
South  Carolina.  Individual  members  are  here  from  Massachu 
setts,  Maryland,  and  Georgia,  and  our  intelligence  promises  a 
complete  addition  of  the  first  and  last,  as  also  of  Connecticut, 
by  to-morrow.  General  Washington  was  called  to  the  chair 
by  a  unanimous  voice,  and  has  accepted  it.  The  secretary  is  a 
Major  Jackson.  This  is  all  that  has  yet  been  done,  except  the 
appointment  of  a  committee  for  preparing  the  rules  by  which 
the  Convention  is  to  be  governed  in  their  proceedings.  A  few 
days  will  now  furnish  some  data  for  calculating  the  probable 
result  of  the  meeting.  In  general,  the  members  seem  to  accord 
in  viewing  our  situation  as  peculiarly  critical,  and  on  being 
averse  to  temporizing  expedients.  I  wish  they  may  as  readily 
agree  when  particulars  are  brought  forward.  Congress  are 
reduced  to  five  or  six  States,  and  are  not  likely  to  do  anything 
during  the  term  of  the  Convention. 

A  packet  has  lately  arrived  from  France,  but  brings  no  news. 

I  learnt  with  great  pleasure,  by  the  Governor,  that  you  con 
tinued  to  enjoy  a  comfortable  degree  of  health,  and  heartily 
wish  this  may  find  it  still  further  confirmed;  being,  with  sincere 
affection  and  the  highest  esteem, 

Your  obed*  friend  and  serv. 


PHILADELPHIA,  May  27th,  1787. 

HOND  SIR, — We  have  been  here  for  some  time,  suffering  a 
daily  disappointment  from  the  failure  of  the  deputies  to  assem 
ble  for  the  Convention.  Seven  States  were  not  made  up  till 
the  day  before  yesterday.  Our  intelligence  from  New  York 
promises  an  addition  of  three  more  by  to-morrow.  General 
Washington  was  unanimously  called  to  the  chair,  and  has  ac 
cepted  it.  It  is  impossible,  as  yet,  to  form  a  judgment  of  the 

330  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1737. 

result  of  this  experiment.  Every  reflecting  man  becomes  daily 
more  alarmed  at  our  situation.  The  unwise  and  wicked  pro 
ceedings  of  the  Governments  of  some  States,  and  the  unruly 
temper  of  the  people  of  others,  must,  if  persevered  in.  soon  pro 
duce  some  new  scenes  among  us. 

My  enquiries  concerning  the  iron  do  not  promise  any  supply 
from  the  quarter  you  wished  it,  nor  do  I  find  the  advantage 
which  formerly  existed  in  sending  the  other  articles.  The  late 
regulations  of  Trade  here  and  in  Virginia,  particularly  the  act 
of  the  latter  requiring  the  cargoes  destined  to  Frederiksburg, 
&c.,  to  be  deposited,  in  the  first  instance,  at  ports  below,  are  ob 
structions  to  the  intercourse.  Tobacco,  however,  of  the  first 
quality,  may  be  sent  hither  to  advantage.  Old  Tobacco  of  this 
description  will  command  six  dollars.  Mine,  which  has  arrived 
safe,  being  neiv,  will  not,  I  fear,  fetch  me  more  than  32-9.,  Vir 
ginia  currency. 

Mr.  William  Strother,  who  was  lately  here,  gave  me  the  first 
information  of  the  event  of  the  election.  I  was  not  more  con 
cerned  than  surprised  at  the  rejection  of  Major  Moore.  I  am 
unable,  utterly,  to  account  for  so  sudden  and  great  a  change  in 
the  disposition  of  the  people  towards  him.  False  reports  occur 
as  the  most  probable  cause. 

I  have  enjoyed  good  health  since  I  left  Virginia,  and  learnt 
with  much  pleasure,  from  Mr.  Strother,  that  he  had  heard  noth 
ing  otherwise  with  respect  to  my  friends  in  general  in  Orange. 

Remember  me  affectionately  to  my  mother  and  the  rest  of  the 
family,  and  accept  of  the  dutiful  regards  of, 

Your  son. 


PHILADELPHIA,  Juno  6th,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  day  fixed  for  the  meeting  of  the  Convention 
was  the  14th  ultimo.  On  the  25th,  and  not  before  seven  States 
were  assembled,  General  Washington  was  placed,  una  voce,  in 

1787.  LETTERS.  331 

the  chair.  The  secretaryship  was  given  to  Major  Jackson. 
The  members  present  are:  from  Massachusetts;  Mr.  Gerry,  Mr. 
Gorham,  Mr.  King,  Mr.  Strong.  From  Connecticut;  Mr.  Sher 
man,  Doctor  S.  Johnson,  Mr.  Ellsworth.  From  New  York; 
Judge  Yates,  Mr.  Lansing,  Mr.  Hamilton.  New  Jersey;  Gov 
ernor  Livingston,  Judge  Brearley,  Mr.  Patterson,  Attorney 
General;  [Mr.  Houston  and  Mr.  Clarke  are  absent  members.] 
From  Pennsylvania;  Dr.  Franklin,  Mr.  Morris,  Mr.  Wilson, 
Mr.  Fitzsimmons,  Mr.  G.  Clymer,  General  Mifflin,  Mr.  Gouver- 
neur  Morris,  Mr.  Ingersoll.  From  Delaware;  Mr.  John  Dick- 
enson,  Mr.  Reed,  Mr.  Bedford,  Mr.  Broome,  Mr.  Bassett.  From 
Maryland;  Major  Jenifer  only.  Mr.  McHenry,  Mr.  Daniel 
Carroll,  Mr.  John  Mercer,  Mr.  Luther  Martin,  are  absent 
members.  The  three  last  have  supplied  the  resignations  of 
Mr.  Stone,  Mr.  Carroll  of  Carrolton,  and  Mr.  T.  Johnson,  as 
I  have  understood  the  case.  From  Virginia;  General  Wash 
ington,  Governor  Randolph,  Mr.  Blair,  Col.  Mason,  Doctor 
McClurg,  J.  Madison.  Mr.  Wythe  left  us  yesterday,  being 
called  home  by  the  serious  declension  of  his  lady's  health. 
From  North  Carolina;  Col.  Martin,  late  Governor,  Doctor 
Williamson,  Mr.  Spaight,  Col.  Davy;  Col.  Blount  is  another 
member,  but  is  detained  by  indisposition  at  New  York.  From 
South  Carolina;  Mr.  John  Rutledge,  General  Pinckuey,  Mr. 
Charles  Pinckney,  Major  Pierce  Butler;  Mr.  Laurens  is  in 
the  Commission  from  that  State,  but  will  be  kept  away  by  the 
want  of  health.  From  Georgia;  Col.  Few,  Major  Pierce,  for 
merly  of  Williamsburg,  and  aid  to  General  Greene,  Mr.  Hous 
ton.  Mr.  Baldwin  will  be  added  to  them  in  a  few  days. 
Welton  and  Pendleton  are  also  in  the  deputation.  New 
Hampshire  has  appointed  Deputies,  but  they  are  not  expected, 
the  State  treasury  being  empty,  it  is  said,  and  a  substitution  of 
private  resources  being  inconvenient  or  impracticable.  I  men 
tion  this  circumstance  to  take  off  the  appearance  of  backward 
ness,  which  that  State  is  not  in  the  least  chargeable  with,  if  we 
are  rightly  informed  of  her  disposition.  Rhode  Island  has  not 
yet  acceded  to  the  measure.  As  their  Legislature  meet  very 
frequently,  and  can  at  any  time  be  got  together  in  a  week,  it  is 

332  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787> 

possible  that  caprice,  if  no  other  motive,  may  yet  produce  a 
unanimity  of  the  States  in  this  experiment. 

In  furnishing  you  with  this  list  of  names,  I  have  exhausted 
all  the  means  which  I  can  make  use  of  for  gratifying  your 
curiosity.  It  was  thought  expedient,  in  order  to  secure  un 
biassed  discussion  within  doors,  and  to  prevent  misconceptions 
and  misconstructions  without,  to  establish  some  rules  of  caution, 
which  will  for  no  short  time  restrain  even  a  confidential  com 
munication  of  our  proceedings.  The  names  of  the  members 
will  satisfy  you  that  the  States  have  been  serious  in  this  busi 
ness.  The  attendance  of  General  Washington  is  a  proof  of  the 
light  in  which  he  regards  it.  The  whole  community  is  big 
with  expectation,  and  there  can  be  no  doubt  but  that  the  result 
will  in  some  way  or  other  have  a  powerful  effect  on  our 

Mr.  Adams'  book,  which  has  been  in  your  hands,  of  course 
has  excited  a  good  deal  of  attention.  An  edition  has  come  out 
here,  and  another  is  in  the  press  at  N.  York.  It  will  probably 
be  much  read,  particularly  in  the  Eastern  States,  and  contribute, 
with  other  circumstances,  to  revive  the  predelictions  of  this 
country  for  the  British  Constitution.  Men  of  learning  find 
nothing  new  in  it;  men  of  taste  many  things  to  criticise;  and 
men  without  either,  not  a  few  things  which  they  will  not  under 
stand.  It  will,  nevertheless,  be  read  and  praised,  and  become 
a  powerful  engine  in  forming  the  public  opinion.  The  name 
and  character  of  the  author,  with  the  critical  situation  of  our 
affairs,  naturally  account  for  such  an  effect.  The  book  also  lias 
merit,  and  I  wish  many  of  the  remarks  in  it  which  are  un 
friendly  to  republicanism  may  not  receive  fresh  weight  from 
the  operations  of  our  governments. 

I  learn  from  Virginia  that  the  appetite  for  paper  money 
grows  stronger  every  day.  Mr.  Henry  is  an  avowod  patron 
of  the  scheme,  and  will  not  fail,  I  think,  to  carry  it  through, 
unless  the  County  [Prince  Edward]  which  he  is  to  represent 
shall  bind  him  hand  and  foot  by  instructions.  I  am  told  that 
this  is  in  contemplation.  He  is  also  said  to  be  unfriendly  to  an 
acceleration  of  Justice.  There  is  good  reason  to  believe  that 

17*7.  LETTERS,  333 

he  is  hostile  to  the  object  of  the  Convention,  and  that  he  wishes 
either  a  partition  or  total  dissolution  of  the  Confederacy. 

I  sent  you  a  few  days  ago,  by  a  vessel  going  to  France,  a  box 
with  peccan  nuts  planted  in  it.  Mr.  John  Yaughan  was  so 
good  as  to  make  arrangements  with  the  captain,  both  for  their 
preservation  during  the  voyage  and  the  conveyance  of  them 
afterwards.  I  had  before  sent  you,  via  England,  a  few  nuts 
sealed  up  in  a  letter. 

Mr.  Wythe  gave  me  favorable  accounts  of  your  nephew  in 
Williamsburg :  and  from  the  President  of  Hampden  Sidney, 
who  was  here  a  few  days  ago,  I  received  information  equally 
pleasing  of  your  younger  nephew. 

I  must  beg  you  to  communicate  my  affectionate  respects  to 
our  friend  Mazzei,  and  to  let  him  know  that  I  have  taken  every 
step  for  securing  his  claim  on  Dorman  which  I  judged  most 
likely  to  succeed.  There  is  little  doubt  that  Congress  will 
allow  him  more  than  he  owes  Mr.  Mazzei,  and  I  have  got  from 
him  such  a  draught  on  the  Treasury  board  as  I  think  will  ensure 
him  the  chance  of  that  fund.  Dorman  is  at  present  in  Virginia, 
where  he  has  also  some  claims  and  expectations,  but  they  are 
not  in  a  transferable  situation.  I  intended  to  have  written  to 
Mazzei,  and  must  beg  his  pardon  for  not  doing  it.  It  is  really 
out  of  my  power  at  this  time. 

Adieu.     Yours  affectionately. 


PHILADELPHIA,  July  18th,  1787. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  Convention  continue  to  sit,  and  have  been 
closely  employed  since  the  commencement  of  the  session.  I  am 
still  under  the  mortification  of  being  restrained  from  disclosing 
any  part  of  their  proceedings.  As  soon  as  I  am  at  liberty,  I 
will  endeavour  to  make  amends  for  my  silence,  and  if  I  ever 
have  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you,  shall  be  able  to  give  you  pretty 
full  gratification.  I  have  taken  lengthy  notes  of  everything 

334  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

that  has  yet  passed,  and  mean  to  go  on  with  the  drudgery,  if  no 
indisposition  obliges  me  to  discontinue  it.  It  is  not  possible  to 
form  any  judgment  of  the  future  duration  of  the  session.  I  am 
led  by  sundry  circumstances  to  guess  that  the  residue  of  the 
work  will  not  be  very  quickly  despatched.  The  public  mind  is 
very  impatient  for  the  event,  and  various  reports  are  circula 
ting  which  tend  to  inflame  curiosity.  I  do  not  learn,  however, 
that  any  discontent  is  expressed  at  the  concealment;  and  have 
little  doubt  that  the  people  will  be  as  ready  to  receive  as  we 
shall  be  able  to  propose  a  Government  that  will  secure  their 
liberties  and  happiness. 

I  am  not  able  to  give  you  any  account  of  what  is  doing  at 
New  York.  Your  correspondents  there  will  no  doubt  supply 
the  omission.  The  paper  money  here  ceased  to  circulate  very 
suddenly  a  few  days  ago.  It  had  been  for  some  time  vibrating 
between  a  depreciation  of  12  and  of  20  per  cent.  Its  entire 
stagnation  is  said  to  have  proceeded  from  a  combination  of  a 
few  people  with  whom  the  country  people  deal  on  market  days 
against  receiving  it.  The  consequence  was  that  it  was  refused 
in  the  market,  and  great  distress  brought  on  the  poorer  citi 
zens.  Some  of  the  latter  began  in  turn  to  form  combinations  of 
a  more  serious  nature,  in  order  to  take  revenge  on  the  supposed 
authors  of  the  stagnation.  The  timely  interposition  of  some 
influential  characters  prevented  a  riot,  and  prevailed  on  the 
persons  who  were  opposed  to  the  paper  to  publish  their  willing 
ness  to  receive  it.  This  has  stifled  the  popular  rage,  and  got 
the  paper  into  circulation  again.  It  is,  however,  still  consider 
ably  below  par,  and  must  have  received  a  wound  which  will  not 
easily  be  healed.  Nothing  but  evil  springs  from  this  imaginary 
money  wherever  it  is  tried,  and  yet  the  appetite  for  it  where  it 
has  not  been  tried  continues  to  be  felt.  There  is  great  reason 
to  fear  that  the  bitterness  of  the  evil  must  be  tasted  in  Virginia 
before  the  appetite  there  will  be  at  an  end. 

The  wheat  harvest  throughout  the  continent  has  been  uncom 
monly  fine,  both  in  point  of  quantity  and  quality.  The  crops 
of  corn  and  Tobacco  on  the  ground  in  Virginia  are  very  differ 
ent  in  different  places.  I  rather  fear  that  in  general  they  are 

1787.  LETTERS.  335 

both  bad,  particularly  the  former.  I  have  just  received  a  letter 
from  Orange,  which  complains  much  of  appearances  in  that 
neighborhood,  but  says  nothing  of  them  in  the  parts  adjacent. 

Present  my  best  respects  to  Mr.  Short  and  Mr.  Mazzei.  Noth 
ing  has  been  done  since  my  last  to  the  latter  with  regard  to  his 
affair  with  Dorman. 

Wishing  you  all  happiness,  I  am,  dear  sir,  your  affectionate 
friend  and  serv. 


PHILADELPHIA,  July  28th,  1787. 

HoxDSiR,—  ******** 
I  am  sorry  that  I  cannot  gratify  your  wish  to  be  informed  of 
the  proceedings  of  the  Convention.  An  order  of  secrecy  leaves 
me  at  liberty  merely  to  tell  you  that  nothing  definitive  is  yet 
done,  that  the  Session  will  probably  continue  for  some  time  yet, 
that  an  adjournment  took  place  on  thursday  last  until  Monday 
week,  and  that  a  Committee  is  to  be  at  work  in  the  mean  time. 
Late  information  from  Europe  presents  a  sad  picture  of  things 
in  Holland.  Civil  blood  has  been  already  spilt,  and  various 
circumstances  threaten  a  torrent  of  it.  Many,  it  is  said,  are 
flying  with  their  property  to  England.  How  much  is  it  to  be 
lamented  that  America  does  not  present  a  more  inviting  asy 

Congress  have  been  occupied  for  some  time  past  on  Western 
affairs.  They  have  provided  for  the  Government  of  the  Coun 
try  by  an  ordinance,  of  which  a  copy  is  herewith  inclosed. 
They  have  on  the  anvil,  at  present,  some  projects  for  the  most 
advantageous  sale  of  the  lands.  Col.  Carrington  informs  me  that 
Indian  affairs  wear  a  very  hostile  appearance;  that  money  must 
in  all  probability  be  expended  in  further  treaties;  that  a  Gen 
eral  Confederacy  has  been  formed  of  all  the  nations  and  tribes 
from  the  six  nations,  inclusive,  to  the  Mississippi,  under  the  au 
spices  of  Brandt;  that  a  General  Council  was  held  in  December 

336  WORKS    OF    MADISON.  1787. 

last  in  form,  near  Detroit,  in  which  was  considered  as  griev 
ances  the  surveying  of  lands  on  the  North  West  side  of  the 
Ohio,  the  pretext  being,  as  usual,  that  the  treaties  which  pre 
ceded  that  measure  were  made  by  parts  only  of  the  Nations 
whose  consent  was  necessary,  and  that  a  united  representation 
of  this  grievance  has  been  received  by  Congress.  That  as  to 
the  hostilities  on  Kentucky,  the  superintendent  of  Indian  affairs, 
or,  in  case  of  his  inability  to  go,  Col.  Harmar,  is  ordered  to 
proceed  immediately  to  some  convenient  place  for  holding  a 
Treaty  with  the  hostile  tribes,  and  by  that  means  restore,  if